American sculptural artist Mark Jenkins exhibition of slightly dark humanoid sculptures at the Lazinc Gallery in London’s Mayfair has come hot on the heels of an altogether more public showing of works on the top of the old ITV building on the Southbank.
That installation, featured 84 male sculptures positioned on the edge of the top of the building, looking out on the world below. Called ‘Project84‘ it was a reference to the 84 men who take their own lives every month and was a powerful statement piece about male suicide and went some way to bringing this into the mainstream consciousness.
A number of the figures in the Lazinc Gallery, take a similar form. There the Mark Jenkins show ‘Brd Sht’ features a series of sculptures, many based on his own body, which is the same as the work on the top of the ITV building. Each one of those figures represented a real life lost to suicide but all will have been based on a cast from Jenkins himself.
Brd Sht is a nod to a license plate in the 70’s film Brewster McCloud. According to Jenkins “In the film it was a murderous substance and while I understand here in the UK it’s good luck, for me I’ve always thought about the frequency birds do it as a condition for reducing weight to allow flight. It’s a useful metaphor to understand that our own ability to sustain flight mentally is a matter of reducing our own emotional baggage, or shit if you will.”
Along with his collaborator, Sandra Fernandez, Jenkins casts their bodies in order to make his sculptures and in total the show features nine of them, including one of a fisherman which stands at a window on the exterior of the building seemingly fishing for people passing by. It’s not the first time that the Lazinc on Sackville Street has used such a means of sculptural installation to bring the art on the inside of the space into the public sphere.
Inside the gallery there are a number of standout pieces. All featuring anonymous characters whose faces are obscured by hoodies. One piece features a man with his face planted to the floor with arms outstretched with each hand holding onto a feather. It is as if he has fallen from the heavens in a vain attempt to fly.
Other pieces include a similar hooded man kneeling with his head in a guillotine with the blade having being replaced by a still life of flowers and a man sitting atop a plinth looking down onto the space below. Elsewhere a female character looks at some scrawled yellow graffiti simply saying ‘Sunny Day’, her hair however has been covered in the same yellow paint and is sodden and matted.
Jenkins installations draw inspiration from the likes of Juan Munoz, the late figurative sculptor and Albert Camus‘ philosophies on the absurd. His public works are meant to lead only brief and lonely lives. Momentarily appearing in the public sphere only to then disappear again after the public have briefly interacted with them. Turning, for a moment at least, the environment into an art space.
Brd Sht the exhibition from Mark Jenkins is showing at the Lazinc Gallery on Sackville Street in Mayfair. It runs from 25 May 2018 to 30 June 2018. The exhibition was visited on 14 June 2018. For more features on exhibitions hosted by this gallery have a look at JR’s Giants exhibition here and the May 1968 Revolutionary Poster exhibition here.
BRD SHT Mark Jenkins Gallery