Threatening Sculpture By Mark Jenkins
Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆
It's almost impossible to walk past this exhibition without feeling like you're being watched — by a life-sized man in black with his hood tightly drawn. People walk by and many recoil in fright, but in the man's hands are flowers. Is he simply dressed for the elements and actually paying a visit to a lost loved one at a graveyard? This ambiguity is central to the works of Mark Jenkins in this solo show that plays on our preconceived notions.
Smaller child-sized mannequins also occupy the gallery. One looks menacing with a baseball bat over a shoulder, while his balaclava-clad compatriot lies on the floor drawing a picture — as we would expect any child to enjoy doing. Tucked away in the corner is a realistic mannequin of a young girl and her appearance of vulnerability is touching.
Jenkins's three dimensional paintings all contain a story, simply conveyed by a pair of arms, whether they are acting as a perch for a bird or being used to commit ritual suicide with a samurai blade. One hand injecting a needle into the other arm could be a sign of self-medication or a drug addiction and it's the uncertainty of the works on display that keeps us engaged.
A comical foot through a classical still life and a disturbing sex doll whose face has been replaced by Munch's The Scream round out this small and eye-catching exhibition. The ideas clearly draw inspiration from the likes of Banksy and the Chapman brothers but, while this means they are not wholly original, it doesn't lessen the impact of these exciting works.
Mark Jenkins: Moment of Impact is on at Lazarides, 11 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HR until 7 February. Entrance is free.
For more great art to see, visit our top 10 exhibitions for January.
Last Updated 19 January 2015