WHERE: Copro Nason Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave. T5., Santa Monica, Ca. 90404
WHAT: “Krampus & Christmas” Group Art Exhibtion
DATE: December 11 through January 15 opening reception December 11th 7-11:30 p.m.
CONTACT: Gary Pressman, Copro/Nason Gallery, 310-398-2643, CoproNason@earthlink.net
Gallery presents its first, "Krampus and Christmas" group
art show. Great artists of our time will present original pieces influenced
and about Krampus and the many legends of Christmas. On display also
will be extremely rare original Krampus cards from the collection
of Monte Beachamp. Monte publishes Blab magazine and recently released
the book “The Devil in Design: The Krampus Postcards. He will
also be available on opening night to sign Krampus and Blab books.
The opening will be in the tradition of a typical Krampusnacht party
including scaring children, beating bystanders with switches and of
course heavy alcohol consumption and partial nudity. Come have a good
time and see some great art celebrating the season.
Krampus has been a cottage industry in Austria, from Victorian times through the present. This mostly consists of the production of Krampus postcards that tend to feature Krampus and his "prodigious tongue", assailing various Betty Page type pin-up girls (or even pure-hearted Austrian housefraus) with his lecherous advances. During World War II, Krampus shamefully pandered to the Nazis in such postcards, doing a series of propaganda appearances in which he trounced and embarrassed British and French citizens and soldiers. After WWII, it was rumored that Krampus fled to Brazil and took part in an evil cloning scheme but that will probably never get out.
The Story of Krampus and Christmas
St. Nikolaus, patron saint of children, was a bishop in Myra in Asia Minor 300 AD. The legend of Christmas started when he is said to have left gold on the window sills of three poor girls for their dowry. More diverse than those of the saintly Nikolaus are the many legends and traditions surrounding his often wild companions. The pagan origin of all of these figures is evident although difficult to trace. His best known companion is Knecht Ruprecht, "Knecht" meaning servant. Historically, Ruprecht was a dark and sinister figure clad in a tattered robe with a big sack on his back, in which legend has it, that he placed all naughty children. This is an extension of the good-cop, bad-cop theory and in this role Ruprecht became the patron saint of Christmas and was called Weihnachtsmann," Father Christmas or Santa Claus".
Santa was most heavily influenced by the Norse Thor, who had a long white beard and cheerfully rode a flying chariot. The enemy of good in Norse mythology was Loki, a figure usually depicted as falling somewhere in the range between Satan himself and Carrot Top. Loki was a devil-trickster figure with big horns. In Austria the saint is followed by a similar horned creature, called Krampus, covered with bells and dragging chains. The Krampus is a sort of devil who accompanies St. Nikolaus to punish the wicked. Krampus carries the presents for the good and a birch stick or lumps of coal for the naughty ones. It is rumored that naughty children might get put in the sack and taken along, or even beat with a whip or switch.
The customs that have grown up around the “Feast of St. Nikolaus” go back to a very old tradition, originally celebrated on 28th December, the “Feast of the Holy Innocents”. It was later moved to 5/6th December and become a saint's day for St. Nicholas, who pronounced judgment on the children, tested them on their catechism and rewarded their performance either with a gift or with punishment from his lackey, Krampus. To counter superstition, Martin Luther forbade these Nikolaus customs in the Lutheran area. Instead, the "Holy Christ", himself was to be the bringer of gifts.
Once the Christians criminalized orgiastic excess, the Krampus-fertility nexus evolved into more of a taboo-stalker kind of scenario, in which the devilish figure, traditionally depicted with a swollen foot-long red tongue, malevolently thrusts himself on nubile women who are eternally "protesting" his advances. Not protesting too much because after all, he has a foot long red tongue.
http://www.rotten.com/library/occult/deviltry/krampus http://www.serve.com/shea/germusa/nikohelp.htm http://www.geocities.com/americanaustriansociety/nikolokrampus.html