As I left Barcomi’s Deli, my lunch spot for the day I noticed what I thought was a bookshop across the courtyard and wandered in to have a look around.
Gestalten is a bookshop but it’s so much more too. The building I had entered is also a gallery and there was a Mark Jenkins exhibition on.
But Gestalten is also a publisher.
And as if that’s not enough there’s also Gestalten TV and the work they do in graphic design and other creative ventures.
The shop has an extensive range of books about art, architecture and there are a number of interesting products for sale: art works, ceramics, jewelry and lots more to boot.
I had read about the Mark Jenkins show and wanted to go. I’ve been aware of Mark Jenkins’s work for a while now, through Vandalog and Wooster Collective, but never had the good fortune to see any until today.
Jenkins’s work employs a number of ideas and techniques but it is his life-size and life-like figures that have always intrigued me. He creates these figures by taking live models and wrapping them in cling film and then strips of adhesive plastic (think industrial sellotape). Jenkins then cuts the resulting shell off the models using zig zag cuts so that the pieces can be re-assembled like a 3D jigsaw.
The resulting mannequins are then clothed and placed in situations that make them art. Mark Jenkins believes that it is often the interaction of the audience that makes the art works most interesting.
The exhibition at Gestalten features three of these figures, as well as photographs of street installations and an impressive ‘Afro’.
Street Art purists often take issue with Street Artists exhibiting in galleries – their argument is that this is ‘just art’. But how do you classify a photograph of an installation on the street?
I’d prefer to come across a Mark Jenkins installation on the street for the surprise factor but there is definitely a place for his work in galleries too.
The exhibition runs until 4 March 2012.
Gestalten Space, Sophie-Gips-Höfe, Sophienstraße 21 www.gestalten.com