Jenkin van Zyl
Machines of Love

We arrive into a chamber of cake ‘heads’ – grotesque mask-like baked goods in fridges – and thus begins a journey into the witty and bacchanalian world of Jenkin van Zyl. Taking on the dungeon-like qualities of Tramway’s T4 Theatre, the artist creates an immersive installation comprising both sculpture and video, inviting viewers into a scenario involving, amongst other things, airplane fuselage to impress a sense of claustrophobia, sexual ecstasy, hysteria and ‘folk horror’.

At the heart of the installation is a new film which introduces us to characters enacting looped rituals of reproduction and self-pollination in an effort to achieve community, individuation and re-enchantment. The work seeks to indulge in but also problematise the spectacle of transgression. Pulling together at once pleasure, pain and hope, van Zyl uses camp and humour to subvert societal expectations, and imagine what abundance and joy could mean outside the cycles of physical reproduction and consumption. For the artist ‘the hope of pretending is that, with enough time and practise, the performance becomes you’.

Supported by Henry Moore Foundation

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