kyle montgomery is probing into what's real and what's not
The artist is about asking questions, and not taking the general consensus as the answer.
Photo by Hayley Morgan
Sitting down with Kyle Montgomery a week before the opening of his recent exhibition "Crystal Void" at China Heights, he's distracted. It's hard to keep him thinking about the questions long enough for him to answer. It's difficult for him to talk about the process of his art because there's no force behind it—he says there's something else intervening. His misunderstood unsureness makes me think of those early Harmony Korine and Letterman interviews, though I'm not here to make fun of Kyle. I'll let him get to the bottom of his thoughts, I know it'll be worth it. His work is nothing to be mocked. Although it's sometimes disturbing, there's a net of beauty and richness to it through taxidermy, shining stones, and Mary's upturned palms. There's some unrest online about his hollowed Virgin Mary statues filled with quartz. Let's hope they don't see the stillborn labrador resting on a bed of crystals.
You just had a show at China Heights, tell me about the most ludicrous piece.
I don't think anything's ludicrous, it's all very natural. I don't have a favourite, it's just a full body of work. It's not even a full body, its just a continuation of, just, work. There's no piece that stands out, it just continues.
What's the most rewarding part, the bit that makes you want to do this?
I don't even know if it's enjoyable.
Then why do it?
I don't know, I just have to do it. It's not like I make money out of it or anything it's just something I have to do. It's a weird thing that I have to get out of my system. It's just getting them out of my head and into real life. I basically started explaining what I was learning about aliens and other dimensions through collage, as a means of processing information. And then that turned into sculpture. It's visuals, weird things, that I just needed to get out of my head.
Things are obviously working out though, you've shown in London, how did that go?
Yeah FKA Twigs bought a piece at my London show, she's nice, six months later she produced a film clip and it was in that. People on the internet told me about it. Kat Von D has a piece, she hit me up on Instagram and I was in LA at the time so we went and hung out. She was down. She gave me a taxidermy deer, that was sick.
When you look at your work, on the surface it incorporates two pretty decadent things—taxidermy and crystals. But you've spoken candidly before about a more raw side, an interest in roadkill.
I don't think I wanna talk about it. I guess I have a fascination with roadkill, just like I have a fascination with other realms: physical, spiritual. And interstellar travel to those realms. Vortexes.
Okay lets take a different approach, what are rarest skeleton remains you've ever worked with?
I started collecting dolphins, I have a lot of dolphin skulls, skeletons, and I have a whale vertebrae.
Wow, is that huge?
It's pretty large, probably use it as a seat.
You were talking about interstellar travel before, I've noticed you're into that kind of stuff— conspiracy theories, the occult, hypnotising yourself on youtube—what's that about?
It's just about asking questions, and not taking the general consensus as the answer. Probing into what's real and what's not, what's feasible.
Where did this start?
I just became obsessed with alien documentaries when I was about 12, maybe 10. Alien visitations.
Would you want to be visited by an alien?
Not sure, not too sure about that.
But you believe aliens exist?
Definitely. It's such a huge place to exist out there, it's stupid to think we're the only ones.
Words and photography Hayley Morgan