An unconscious woman in a Soho art gallery prompted police action, but she was actually only a sculpture.
She looks quite real. The woman in a yellow hoodie and black leggings, her blonde hair wild, is bent over a crafting table, apparently unconscious with her face in a spilled bowl of soup and her hands in her lap. But the poor woman is nothing but packing tape and foam filler. Still, real enough to cause some trouble for her owner, gallery owner Steve Lazarides and his venue Laz Emporium.
The sculpture, named “Kristina” after Lazarides’ sister and the sculptor’s model, is life-sized and a little eerie. It was commissioned by Lazarides as a talking point, to attract attention to the hand-crafted tables his London gallery sells. Sculpted by American artist Mark Jenkins, it’s not for sale, but Lazarides says that if he ever did want rid of it, he’d charge about $22,000 for the piece.
According to the Metropolitan Police, they received a concerned phone call about “an unconscious woman slumped over a table in the locked-up gallery,” who had been unmoving for several hours. The police arrived just after closing, and the sole employee on duty had gone upstairs for tea. With no response to their knocking, the police broke down a door to enter.
“She came down to find the door off its hinges and two confused police officers!” said Lazarides, who is mostly amused by the incident.
“The work is to provoke and it’s definitely achieving that,” said his employee, Hannah Blakemore. She also added that in October, paramedics were called to help “Kristina” while she was on display at a London Fair.
The artist Mark Jenkins is known for his very realistic human sculptures, usually cast from life and posed in sedentary, unnerving positions. He said while most of his works have been mistaken for real people at some point, this is the first time he’s heard of anyone breaking into a place over one.
Photo: Drop of Light / Shutterstock