Photos by Steve Wilson
For those unfamiliar with European legend, the Krampus is a mythical creature. In various regions of the world – particularly Austria and Hungary – it is believed that Krampus accompanies St. Nicholas during the Christmas season, warning and punishing naughty children. While St. Nicholas gives gifts to good children, Krampus is often depicted carrying them in chains or in a basket to a fiery place below.
Known by many names across the continent, including Knecht Reprecht, Klaubauf, Pelzebock and Schmutzli, Krampus is unmistakably evil. He often appears as a tradition red devil with cloven hooves and goatish horns, but he has also been depicted as a huge, hairy beast that dwells in forests.
Of course this legend was changed once Santa Claus made his way into American culture, but the Krampus is never too far behind lurking in the shadows of sinful deeds. Krampusnacht, or Night of Krampus, is a celebration held on the eve of Santa Claus’ arrival in which adults dress in wild, devilish costumes to scare the children into being good.
To continue this rich tradition, the Resistor Gallery in Toronto, Canada has recently kicked off its 2010 Krampusnacht Art Show featuring over 25 different artists from all around Canada showcasing their interpretation of the sinister saint.
Krampusnacht features the following artists:
Andrew Heffron, Aaron Costain, Aaron Leighton, Attila Szanyi, Arv Slabosevicius, Brian McLachlan, Brandon Steen, Clayton Hanmer, Crankbunny, Craig Marshall, Chris Stone, Carey Sookocheff, Drazen Kozjan, Diana McNally, Faez Alidousti, Hyein Lee, Jessica Fortner, Jesse Jacobs, Jeremy Kai, Janice Kun, Jason Bone, Julia Breckenreid, Karen Justl, Katy Dockrill, Luke Ramsey, Mike McDougall, Marek Colek, Matthew Forsythe, Maylynn Quan, Michael Comeau, Michael Wandelmaier, Phil McAndrew, Pat Shewchuk, Prashant Miranda, Hayley Morris, Ron Gervais, Ryan Feely, Randy Knott, Ro Rao, Steve Manale, Steve Wilson, Stephanie Dudley, Sarah Lazarovic and Tomori Nagamoto.
The exhibition will be on from December 2, 2010 to January 10, 2011.
Resistor Gallery is located on 284 College Street E (just west of Spadina), 2nd Floor, Toronto. Hours are weekdays between 10am-5pm.
Below are more interpretations of this wonderful piece of lore.