Jenkin van Zyl: Surrender
Opening Reception | Thursday 19 January 6-8pm
Jenkin van Zyl’s first solo exhibition at Edel Assanti transforms the gallery into an engulfing environment built around a new single channel film, Surrender. The exhibition is entered via the gaping jaws of an enormous inflatable rat sculpture, whose fleshy innards create a sculptural walkway leading to the inner sanctum of a love hotel, festooned with a canopy of bunting. At the centre of the installation, four beds mirroring one of the scenes from van Zyl’s film serve as a viewing platform for the projection. Characteristic of his psychotropic style, the film melds the 20th century phenomenon of dance marathons – gruelling endurance competitions wherein couples participated in non-stop dancing for hundreds of hours – with the cryptid lore of the “rat king”.
Conjured with a queer irreverence attentive to the power of role-play and fantasy, the film undertakes a carnivalesque exploration of abandoned yet grandiose neoliberal landscapes; an underworld revolt of transient spaces encompassing the hotel, the stage and the set. The dance floor is the focal point of the film, where four rat couples expend themselves in increasingly bewildering tournaments that play with the limitations and expansiveness of the body. Within the exhibition, the rats' competitive challenges are memorialised in a separate mirror-lined trophy room, where plinths formed from towers of energy drinks glisten and interact with smoke drawings.
Jenkin van Zyl is an artist and filmmaker based in London with a multidisciplinary practice comprising film, performance, writing and sculpture. Van Zyl’s work combines these disciplines in hallucinant, immersive installations, typically centred around film. Van Zyl’s diverse frame of reference gives birth to fantastical communities inhabiting fleeting spaces: ghouls breeding cakes in aircrafts, inflatable beasts in a desert fortress, or rats writhing in love hotels. Binaries are displaced by instability, deviance and multiple selves. Beyond the screen, the protagonists and their worlds have a material legacy as “escapees”, in the form of sculptures and objects that pervade van Zyl’s oeuvre.
Jenkin van Zyl (b. 1993) received a postgraduate degree from the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2021 and was the recipient of the RA Gold Medal Prize. Recent exhibitions include The Horror Show!, Somerset House, London (2022); Barbe à Papa, CAPC Musée d’art Contemporain de Bordeaux (2022); Machines of Love, Tramway, Glasgow (2021); Hors Pistes, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Kiss My Genders, Hayward Gallery, London (2019); Oblivion Industry, The Horse Hospital, London (2019). Van Zyl lives and works in London.
Credits for Jenkin van Zyl, Surrender, 2022:
One-half-of-GRACE played by Alex Margo Arden
One-half-of-GRACE played by Ted Rodgers
One-half-of-FAITH played by Emma Belabed
One-half-of-FAITH played by Max Cookward
One-half-of-JENNIFER played by Ayo Babatope
One-half-of-JENNIFER played by Finn Love
One-half-of-SAMANTHA played by Wet Mess
One-half-of-SAMANTHA played by Webster Opiyo
Maids, P.A.I.N. Nurses, Referees, Bellhops and Chauffeurs played by Theodore Pantelopoulos and Eugenia Shishkina.
Production crew - Baran Caliskan, Sam Keelan, Liv Preston, Agnieszka Szczotka, Jordan Tannahill, Betsie van Zyl, Piet van Zyl, Magda Viljoen, Magnus Westwell and David Wilson.
Primary camera, edit, sound design, set and costume by Jenkin Van Zyl
Second camera operation by Kevin Brennan.
No prior booking is required to visit this exhibition.
Please note: This installation contains flashing imagery which may not be suitable for photosensitive epilepsy or other photo sensitivities.
Jenkin van Zyl in conversation with Nicoletta Lambertucci28 February 2023Join Jenkin van Zyl and Nicoletta Lambertucci, Contemporary Art Curator at The Box, Plymouth, as they discuss Surrender, van Zyl's first solo show at Edel Assanti, London. Jenkin van Zyl (b. 1993) received a postgraduate degree from the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2021 and was the recipient of the RA Gold Medal Prize. Recent exhibitions include The Horror Show!, Somerset House, London (2022); Barbe à Papa, CAPC Musée d’art Contemporain de Bordeaux (2022); Machines of Love, Tramway, Glasgow (2021); Hors Pistes, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Kiss My Genders,...Read more
Jenkin van Zyl in ArtForum'Surrender' by Gilda Williams1 May 2023 Nothing could have prepared me for Jenkin van Zyl’s extreme visual extravaganza, the nearly fifty-minute film Surrender, 2023. Not the enormous, room-size,...Read more
Jenkin van Zyl in The White Review'On the Altar of the Rat King' by Sam Moore02 March 2023 Walking into SURRENDER, Jenkin van Zyl’s installation in which a film loops on the wall of a mock-up of a motel room,...Read more
Jenkin van Zyl in Art Monthly'Jenkin van Zyl: Surrender' by Daniel Culpan01 March 2023 What happens if you take a troupe of rodent-humans, pump them with liquid stimulants and make them compete in a non-stop dance...Read more
Jenkin van Zyl in FAD Magazine'The Top 5 Art Exhibitions to See in London Ending This Week' by Tabish Khan26 February 2023 Tabish Khan the @LondonArtCritic picks his favourite top 5 Art Exhibitions to see in London ending This Week. Each one comes with...Read more
Jenkin van Zyl in Frieze'Jenkin van Zyl Demands Your Surrender' by Joe Bobowicz31 January 2023 The artist and filmmaker probes the slippery subjects of queerness and desire in his first latex-laden solo show at Edel Assanti, London....Read more
Jenkin van Zyl in Studio International'The world has ended many times over’ by Joe Lloyd26 January 2023 The artist and film-maker guides us through his fantastical world of dancing rats, pneumatic tubes, dance marathons and inflatable hellmouths. Musophobes beware....Read more
Jenkin van Zyl in In Talks WithJenkin van Zyl in conversation with Danielle Radojcin26 January 2023 Artist Jenkin van Zyl seeks to portray characters who find transcendence through the freedom of being able to be whomever they want,...Read more
Jenkin van Zyl in The Guardian'Jenkin van Zyl on his death-defying art: ‘Setting myself on fire was idiotic. But the shot is amazing’' by Hettie Judah23 January 2023 He makes films filled with gore, monsters and bizarre fetishes and looks like Mr Tumnus at a techno club. Could this prosthetics-wearing,...Read more
Jenkin van Zyl in TimeOut'Jenkin van Zyl: Surrender Review' by Eddy Frankel18 January 2023 Ever wanted to become so entwined with someone that you become one person? Rats know all about that desire. There’s the cryptid...Read more
Jenkin van Zyl in i-D'The queer artist exploring vore, the kink of being eaten alive' by Anastasiia Fedorova06 December 2022 Through inflatable latex sculpture, Jenkin van Zyl's Vore explores the liminal space between the human and the monstrous. In a windowless room...Read more
Click to watch the trailer of Jenkin van Zyl, Surrender, 2023