Declan Jenkins delivers a surreal artist talk full of self admonishment, absurd hard to believe artworks and continuous reference to the form of the artist talk itself inside the life room of the Royal Academy. Declan delivers this artist talk to a room of his peers and motley crew of his fans, self titled ‘Jenkins Ultras”.
These Ultras cheer his arrival, shower him with encouragement, wave flags, tease the Declan Jenkins mascot ‘DJ’, sing songs in response to the work shown, chant loudly, aggressively and abrasively. They disrupt, make the event about themselves as they pour their anger and admiration for the artist out into the space between them. They look, dress, sound and paraphrase football fans, borrowing and altering existing chants, call and responses and songs. Creating arts specific word play that rings around the old, stuffy and cliched context.
Met with silence by the other audience, they bait them, shout and scream obscenities, trying to stir a response from the quiet crowd. The Ultras jump for joy, hug each other and celebrate with reckless abandon when the artist delivers the work and ideas that satisfy their desire for a goal, or a win.
As the artist fumbles, misses his cue, they berate him and gently admonish him, desperate for him to live up to their own hype. As Declan struggles to keep up this momentum, especially gaining their scorn while showing a slow paced video work, they begin to turn. Getting more and more upset, the pitch of their fever grows and the carefully pitched choreography is swept aside and the collective of fans become atomised voices, ejecting profanity and rage at the artist until he, and his mascot, are ironically jeered out of the life room. The artist talk ends, the fans celebrate their perverse victory and disperse.