Seminal artist upsets Anglican priest

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A gay performance artist has sparked controversy with a new exhibition of drawings which he created by ejaculating onto paper.

The 54 drawings which make up Jordan McKenzie’s exhibition, aptly entitled ‘Spent,’ consist of the artist’s seminal fluids covered in a layer of carbon dust.

Commenting on the reaction his work has received, Mr McKenzie said:

“It’s been a very mixed bag. There have been discussions centred on the definitional aspect of the work. Is this drawing people have asked?

“It has definitely polarised people. People either love it or hate it.

“The drawings have provoked a real sense of vitriol and anger and disgust in some.”

One of those critical of the exhibition is Father Kit Cunningham of St Etheldreda’s Church in Clerkenwell.

“All we can do is pray for the artist. The extraordinary thing is that someone actually thought it was art and put it on at his gallery,” he told the Islington Gazette.

“We are clearly dealing with a very mixed up person.”

But the artist insists that his work is “subtle and well-considered” and not about shock value.

“All my work looks at the relationship between the body and drawing. This mostly takes place between the eye, hand and brain and therefore discounts the rest of the body,” he said.

“I’m interested in how the whole body creates art.”

The drawings are the result of a year’s work and Mr McKenzie has stated that he will continue to create them.

“It will be an ongoing process, like a diary and I will probably end up having thousands,” he said.

“The work is a record of my existence. Each one is dated with a stamp on the back.”

According to Dominic Rich, an intern at the Centre for Recent Drawing where the exhibition is being held, one of the most common complaints the gallery has received has been about the framing.

He said: “Some people think the pieces shouldn’t be framed because they want to get closer.”

But Mr McKenzie explained that apart from practical reasons, the frames were a vital part of the exhibition.

“I used mass-produced frames to show the mechanical aspect of the act.

“The frame is functional which reflects what I’m doing. It is a mechanised and endlessly reproduced action.”

When asked whether he would ever consider turning the work into a performance piece, Mr McKenzie replied:

“A lot of people have been saying that we need to see it as a performance and I say why?

“We live in a world where everything is a spectacle. My work is very much about drawing.

“It’s about the evidence of the act, not the process. If it was, people who say you are doing this to shock would be justified.

“It’s not about the act of masturbation.”

For local resident Les who was at the exhibition, the paintings were “quite beautiful” and had “interesting patterns.”

Remarking on the artist’s method of drawing, he replied that he wouldn’t have even realised if such a fuss had not been made by the Islington Gazette.

He said:

“There was something in the Gazette about it and if they don’t like it, it’s probably worth seeing.”

The exhibition is at the Centre for Recent Drawing, 2-4 Highbury Station Rd, London N1 1SB until 1st February.

To see more about Jordan McKenzie’s work visit his website.