Welcome to Mukfa
Markman wrote about Mukfa “In 1962 I went to Italy on a Fulbright. After falling under the spell of the centuries-old maps in Roman museums, I conceived of Mukfa, a fantasy realm of unbridled absurdity that would be the well-spring for much of my art over the next few decades. Creating a country of my very own, complete with its own heroes, villains, mermaids, newspapers, money, airlines and university (Yes U!) offered me the freedom I had always sought from art – the freedom to be seriously silly. In Mukfa, I was free to explore the limits of the nonsensical, the absurd and subversive.”
The country of Mukfa served as a humorous vehicle for Markman’s satirical social commentary. Markman came up with the name Mukfa, he recounted because “I wanted something slightly obscene, because the world is obscene. . . The content of my art is the political and the craziness of the world, and the craziness is what people do to each other. . .” Through Mukfa, Markman could poke fun at contemporary social issues: greed and consumerism, the commercialization of sex, and the diminishment of 20th century American culture, devalued by an emphasis on convenience, speed and mass production.
The land of Mukfa, and its cast of characters, populated his work throughout his career. Mukfa first emerged in Markman’s early etchings of the 1960’s, re-emerged as the subject of a 65-piece installation that he created in the 1970’s, and appeared repeatedly in many of his later paintings, including in two of his major works – Mukfa Gate and Mukfa Update.