Mark Jenkins American, b. 1970

"For me, a work of art must first and foremost be a question." A question Mark Jenkins likes to ask passers-by by staging his sculptures in public spaces. With him, the street is never approached only as a place of exhibition but also always as a space allowing to stage events.
Initiated in 2003, his work is at the same time sculpture, installation, performance and social experimentation. As the artist himself confesses, “I wanted to bring chaos into people's daily routine, generate tension, and see their reactions. I wanted passers-by to lift their heads off their mobiles and reconnect with real life."
Having realized that a sculpture was not only an inert object, however artistic it may be, but that this object could modify the space which surrounds it and interact with the spectators, the artist creates ‘human’ sculptures of a striking realism, dressed in clothes and wearing wigs. These characters evoke typically urban figures, banal enough to blend anonymously into the urban setting. It is as if the works were hidden or camouflaged by their hyperrealism, people can easily pass by them without even realizing that they have just passed in front of a sculpture and not in front of a real being.
The artist chooses to place these bodies, of which only the appearance is human, in unexpected, risky or absurd places and situations: asleep on a billboard, thrown in a dumpster with only the legs sticking out, balancing at the top of a building, leaning against a wall where their heads seem to be embedded or still enthroned, fishing rod in hand, in the middle of a fountain. Freed from their weight and the barriers that the human mind would place on them, bodies defy gravity as well as social conventions.
For the artist, these powerful and unusual stagings constitute above all a "social experience of the alteration of reality". An experience that he documents by photographing the reactions of people who discover his installations. From then on, the witnesses are no longer mere spectators but actors participating in the installation: whether they are passers-by, pigeons, firefighters... all are now an integral part of the installations.
The realism of the bodies, paired with the implausiblity of the situations, thus brings together in the heart of the city and in the eyes of all, the banal and the extraordinary. Faced with these human clones who break free from the norms, the intrigued passer-by hesitates between amusement and amazement, between a rational or magical explanation of the situation. It creates a rupture in the usual routine: everyday life loses its reassuring aspect and becomes a place of all possibilities.
Mark Jenkins was born in 1970 in Fairfax, he lives and works in Washington DC. His artworks have been presented all over the world: United States, Brazil, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Russia, South Korea, Serbia, Japan. His work has been exhibited in museum institutions such as the Kunsthalle Wien (Austria), the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art (Russia), the Centre Pompidou (France), or the Beirut Art Center (Lebanon).