Mark Jenkins uses humour and shock tactics in his art, particularly his street installations, to convey his message.
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 sculptures 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.
He has added legs to rubbish bags and left figures dangling precariously from buildings or seemingly embedded into them.
Many of his works depict people who appear to be in need of help or deserving of pity and the question is whether people will notice and if they do react.
This girl leaning against the wall in the corner of the Glazed Paradise exhibition at Gestalten Space in Berlin seemed to be crying out for someone to put a comforting arm around her shoulders and ask what was wrong.
I haven’t been lucky enough to see any of his work on the street (as far as I’m aware) but in a stroke of good fortune I read about the Glazed Paradise exhibition shortly after my arrival in Berlin. The exhibition coincided with the launch of the book of the same name published by Gestalten and you can see my post about it here.
Not all of Mark Jenkins works are life-size figures. This Afro creation was particularly striking.