Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins -  Embed by tiexano
Mark Jenkins – Embed, a photo by tiexano ]

This faceless figure is a creation by Mark Jenkins, an American artist known for his surreal street installations. This particular piece is from the ‘Embed’ series. Jenkins places the bodies around cities in ways which seem to provoke the authorities. You might see his sculptures sitting on the sides of high-rises, sleeping on billboards or lying face down in a puddle of water. They make you stop and ask the question ‘is that a real person?’. You check under the hood, it’s not, okay. What would you do if it was a person? What makes Jenkins’ mannequin different from the homeless person who sits outside your local shop from morning to night? Well, quite a lot actually but sometimes it must feel as they re no different from a packing tape sculpture. I would predict that Jenkins’ hollowed men get a lot more attention than those with features and the ability to feel.

For more examples of his installations visit:

Candy Chang. Before I Die…

Antes de morir yo quiero... by Daquella manera
Antes de morir yo quiero…, a photo by Daquella manera on Flickr. ]

Candy Chang painted the side of an abandoned house in chalkboard paint, stencilled “Before I Die, I want to…” all over it and then left a box of coloured chalks for the locals of New Orleans to write what they wished. Seems simple but no one else did it. And it has made a creative space out of nothing. Twenty-four hours after it’s construction it was bursting with red, yellow and blue scribbles:

Before I die I want to be tried for piracy.
Before I die I want to fry a toad.
Before I die I want to understand.

Some messages will make you smirk, others will make think. A lot of them will simply make you shrug but it is an honest window into the human condition. Some of us aspire, some of us don’t. Some of us have suffered , some of us haven’t. But we all share the same public walls.

Shadow Portraits

Shadow Portraits by floorvan
Shadow Portraits, a photo by floorvan on Flickr.]

Tim Noble and Sue Webster use household waste, scrap materials and taxidermy animals to create shadowy profiles on blank walls. The one pictured is called Dirty White Trash (with Gulls).

Jeffrey Deitch, the director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, writes:
“Dirty White Trash (with Gulls) is a confluence of beauty and filth, form and anti-form. It is a work of art made out of the process of its own conception, an embodiment of formalist logic. At the same time, it is a negation of everything that formalism stands for…The artist is at the center of the work. It is deliberately entertaining, and revels in its own theatricality.”

The piece represents a cycle. The six months worth of beer bottles and crisp packets, once reformed and illuminated, create a shadow of two smoking and drinking figures. These habits allude to our most wasteful evenings which leave arid landscapes saturated with empty cans and packed ashtrays. So the cycle continues. We should be aware of our waste. It preserves the environment and thus the shadows that exist within it.

Nele Azevedo

These are a few icy soldiers from Nele Azevedo’s army of melting men. The pools of water left by the Brazilian artist have been attributed to climate change but they also allude to the dissolution of the individual. The bodies are perishable like ice caps and are absorbed effortlessly into the stone. The sculptures are not heroes, they’re faceless, featureless men. One minute they’re sitting on city steps, the next they’re not. Forgotten. Stepped on. Lost.
It seems that one figure could potentially go unnoticed but several send a message. They demand attention like a crowd of protesters outside a G12 summit. How long they last depends on the climate so let’s work together. Let’s sit together. for as long as possible.


VOINA is a group of artists who have been egging the minds of Russian authorities with thought-provoking public installations for almost five years now. The art collective have performed such audacious stunts as throwing cats at employees from McDonalds, staging the mock execution of migrant workers in a Moscow supermarket, and illuminating a courtroom with an impromptu punk performance.
In 2008, twelve activists from the group, including one woman with child, had an orgy in a biology museum to poke fun at the ‘pornographic’ elections which saw Dmitry Medvevev take office. Since baring all, the group have gone underground.
The biggest and most notorious VOINA piece since then must be the 65 metre paint penis drawn on the Liteiny bridge. The mammoth schoolboy doodle was completed just minutes before the bridge opened so that it occupied the landscape outside the windows of the KGB’s successors. I had to look at a penis for years when Melvin the geriatric nudist moved in across the road, apparently he was hideously allergic to closing the blinds. The FSB got off lightly. The enormous whitewashed penis actually won the 2010 innovation prize, awarded by the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Moscow. VOINA donated the £9,000 prize money to political prisoners.
VOINA aims to create the image of an artist as a romantic hero who breathes life into a soulless, commercial world. Art should be a provoking, emotional and topical experience with traditions of absurdity and sarcasm.
VOINA’s actions provoke the question; art or crime? Some might dismiss it straightaway as crime. It’s vandalism, it’s public indecency, it’s hooliganism. One VOINA activist stole a chicken by putting it up her vagina. This is a crime but also pretty impressive, some said it should’ve won the prize for innovation.
So, what’s art? What’s crime? Is cycling on the road without lights more of a crime than cycling on the pavement with no lights? The pavement is safer but according to the rulebook, more of a crime. Maybe we should rethink both crime and art. And while we’re rethinking it what would you like to be looking at, a McDonalds full of flying cats or a piece of contemporary art not dissimilar to a Dulux colour chart.



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