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Fitness isn’t a Sport – Fitness is an Art Project

“René Kari – an artist and a work of art in one”, “Painter as an antique sculpture”, “Look everyone – René Kari’s new coming through his body”, “The man who made himself into a work of art – René Kari”, “René Kari wishes to form himself into an antique sculpture”, “René Kari poses as a living sculpture” – all these are newspaper headlines of reviews of my exhibition “Miami Beach” (Gallery Viviann Napp. Tallinn. 05.-18.08.2004).

This was an exhibition where in addition to a retrospective selection of my paintings I also presented photos of my body as a sculpture in progress – declaring myself to be a sculptor, whose work to be sculpted is my own body and whose material to be sculpted my own flesh.

“I would shape my body into a work of art, inspired by the ideals of physical beauty! I would shape my body to look like an antique sculpture – and I would do this in time for my 57th birthday!” This is what I decided 33 years ago. To make sure I would go through with it, I made a bet with my friend.

What was the reason for such kind of decision? As an artist, I am inspired by craving for beauty. It appears that although I myself have been destined to shape the male body, I feel the perfection of beauty is embodied in female body shapes. And this ethereal utmost beauty is what I am trying to reproduce in my paintings. It means that it is not only my wish but also my professional need to experience visual delights, to enjoy the beauty of female body, perceive its closeness. Because of that I was driven to set a goal based on the notion that if you are dreaming about being surrounded by beauty – being at the same time particular about the appearance of the people around you – then you yourself cannot be unattractive, you can’t be like a “monster” among beauties (“Beauty and Monster” is an unfair, illogical combination), but must try to make your appearance more aesthetic. It means that this decision influencing all my following life was based on aestheticism. It was an ethical decision dictated by my aestheticism.

So my goal was not an athletic accomplishment. In other words I am not a bodybuilder who “builds” his body, but rather an artist, who sculpts his body with the goal of turning it into a work of art. And so too, my ideal was not to mirror Hercules’s harmony in a massive form, but my ideal vision of Achilles, since in my opinion ultimate beauty is expressed in slim muscularity and the harmony of normal bodily proportions.

My exhibiton “Miami Beach”, where I paired up my body-concious, erotically charged surrealistic paintings (erotical landscapes) and photos of my body as a work of art forming a single unit linked by the same aesthetics, by the same logic of form and line, meant turning my life-long effort of shaping my body into a presentable art project. Perhaps this could be the longest enduring art project in history – an art event lasting through one’s life.

The presentation in Tallinn should therefore be considered an introduction to further stages and also as a record, a moment within this constantly evolving process, since the ultimate presentation of the sculpture as a finished work of art will not take place until the year 2007 in New York.

The year 2007 is here. I am 57 and I can declare that thanks to my commitment and decades of devotion, I am in the best shape of my life. My body is more attractive, stronger and healthier than ever before! And I am sure that I can say the same at 60 years of age, perhaps even at 70. – The opportunities of improving one’s appearance do not diminish that rapidly! – My decision “a better body with every passing year” still works as a proof that it is possible to avoid an aging appearance!

So it is now evident that it is possible to postpone the presentation of the completed “sculpture”, i.e. the year of looking my very best, from planned 57 to a notably later age.

It means that exhibition “Miami Beach” in New York has been postponed. Most likely the presentation will take place in the year 2010, in the 60th year since my birth. Until that time you can see my “body’s history” and my paintings at www.renekari.com


Intentionally trained human body, modelled into beautiful shape – especially the fabulous, well shaped curvaceous female body – is a true creation of art. It is a masterpiece of art and the author of such a wonderful creation can only be an artist.

Fitness creates beauty. Fitness is a creative process.

Fitness isn’t a Sports – Fitness is an Art Project!

This holds true about me as a professional artist as well as all other people keen on fitness.

René Kari – an artist and a work of art in one

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