Scrap Artist Giles Walker's Last Supper Sculpture That Looks Like Robots
Inside a candlelit space, twelve kinetic figures are seated around a large, wooden table. They are dressed primarily in leather, smoking cigarettes, turning their heads as conversations overlap. The table is lined with candles, an empty bottle or two and a few tiny creatures with birdlike heads. There's a child standing on the tabletop in front of a cross. This is The Last Supper, according to British scrap artist Giles Walker. It is the centerpiece of his solo show of the same name, which opens at Corey Helford's Special Exhibition Space on Saturday.
Ian Cox The Last Supper
Originally from Bristol, Walker has been working with scraps for over 20 years. "It's free or cheap," he says of the material. The artist got his start with Mutoid Waste Company back in the late 1980s, describing the group back then as an "urban traveling community." They roamed across the U.K. and squatted in warehouses, turning them into workshops where they would build sculptures. When the famed acid house dance parties of the era moved into those off-the-radar spaces, and police stopped by to shut them down, the group had moved on to other European countries.
"We had this idea that we were going to go to the Berlin Wall and smash it with a truck. We chickened out," says Walker. "Funny thing is the Berlin Wall came down two weeks later." Walker spent years with Mutoid Waste Company and, while he's no longer a member, he still works with them on one or two projects a year, including their regular installation at the Glastonbury Festival.
Video of The Last Supper
With his solo work, Walker uses scrap auto parts, bird skulls and other found bits and pieces to build sculptures that frequently reflect political and religious debate. Peepshow, which features poledancing robots, and It's Business as Usual for Patricia and Monique, two robotic prostitutes hanging around a barstool, point to "voyeurism," he says, and the controversial surveillance cameras on the streets of London, where's he has lived for the past two years. These pieces will also be on view at his L.A. show.
Walker builds the robots himself, but says he's not hugely into technology. "I'm more into the end results," he explains. "I don't spend ages trying to work out complex ways to do it. I always try to do it the simplest way I can."
He adds, "I make everything myself so then I can fix it."
Up next: how he made The Last Supper