Environmental Art of a Different Nature

”Ive explored plastics and nature in a sort of adulterated, Andy Goldsworthy-way, I suppose, but I think modern man makes his mark in the forests by the plastics he leaves behind. I spent a lot of time hiking in the Andes, and, in addition to being exposed to stunning nature, I also took in a lot of plastic litter—wrappers and bottles. I did a “street extracts” series where I made direct casts of city objects like parking meters and fire hydrants and then installed them in suburban parks. I showed plastics in nature as foreshadowing the total “humanization” of the planet. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in years to come, a real fire hydrant replaced the tape one I installed.”jenkins1

 Street installations by Mark Jenkins.An environmental artist whose ”nature” habitat is an urban landscape.Call it 3D zombie art that the authorities claim they frighten citizens, through his installations where human figures are upside down in a dustbin for example…or floating dead under a foot bridge…

Mark Jenkins ( b. 1970) is a Washington based American artist most widely known for the street installations or sculptural art he creates using clear packing tape. His theory is that people should remember that public space is a battleground in which advertisers and artists are all competing for visual space.He has been placing his works of art at various cities in the world since 2003.The pieces are provocative, but also insightful and poignant; mataphysically in the sweet spot between the sacred and profane and designed to awaken passers-by from the comfort of their daily activities. Each solitary, marginalized figure invites a response in the urban jungle, forcing those who see them to confront the thin veneer of civility that hides their inner-being. His work is in the same mold as that of New York-based street artist, Joshua Allen Harris.

Jenkins, London, 2009

Jenkins, London, 2009

 

 

Using clever placement and visual pranks to make his public installations, Mark Jenkins’ work accomplishes exactly what all great street does – it makes an unshakable impression, it makes people laugh, and it makes people re-imagine their surroundings. Does street art communicate differently in sculptural form?

”Interfacing street sculpture in public space creates an installation environment that turns regular space into art space. Signs and people and everything around a street sculpture—they all become part of it. A two-dimensional work, being confined to surfaces, doesn’t have as much of a capacity… I think my point is that visual outliers are what’s needed to keep the environment stimulating, but unfortunately the only visual content that’s updated with any real frequency are commercial advertising spaces. This is why the ephemeral nature of street art is so essential—because it creates a visual heartbeat in the city by people who are living in it, rather than just marketing to it. But what does the city do with these works? They remove them as quickly as possible and threaten to put the people who make them in jail.” ( Mark Jenkins )

Jenkins, Seoul, South Korea" />

Jenkins, Seoul, South Korea

 

 

Maybe I’m not an artist,” he says, “but like an amateur psychologist doing amateur field studies using tape men as a medium.” Or, he says half-joking, “Maybe I was contacted to clone myself.” ( Washington Post Interview )

It’s also a form of self-examination where the artist can use his medium to project his zombies as metaphors for  himself ; avatars into positions and places he otherwise would not dwell himself. His website, tapesculpture.org gives DIY tutorials for making casts of objects using packing tape.

 

 

 

 

 

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