Untitled (Reverse Inverse Ninja Law)

Using ninjas and Zapatistas as his protagonists, Los Angeles-based artist Glenn Kaino engages a large network of cultural references through visual means. Kaino's often-humorous conceptual objects and installations show a fascination with Marcel Duchamp's ready-mades as well as cultural history. According to the inverse ninja law, the effectiveness of a group of ninjas is inversely proportional to the number of ninjas in the group. The strength of an anonymous individual ninja is almost impenetrable whereas groups of ninjas are easily dispatched by weaker opponents. Kaino inverts the inverse ninja principle, demonstrating the collective power of the anonymous figure. Using handmade Zapatista dolls created in Chiapas, Mexico to construct a sculpture of a giant hammer, Kaino conflates the aesthetics of ninja accoutrements with cultural history and political activism. Rather than becoming powerless, Kaino's bundled group of Zapatistas-cum-ninjas ironically become a single, collective strength epitomized by the powerful symbol of the hammer.