Trickster No. 6: Mark Wallinger


Quite simply, my favourite British artist, and, for me, one working very recognisably within the role of Trickster-artist as Hyde describes. His Angel work perhaps shows this best: him as a blind man, the whole piece filmed and then reversed, for which he had to learn to speak the opening words of John’s gospel backwards, then shown itself reversed, thus presenting us with this man who approaches an escalator walking backwards with a white stick, recanting the familiar words in some strange form, walking to stand still, then, as Zadok the Priest crescendos, he stops and is whisked away up the escalator (at Angel tube – hence the name).

It’s a fabulous example of Trickster art: double meanings, reversals, blind searching…. and incredibly affirming.


3 responses to “Trickster No. 6: Mark Wallinger”

  1. Now if he got his guide-dog to do all that, I’d be really, really impressed. I you think it’s hard to find Trickster females, you should try looking for Trickster pets! (
    Yes, I know, I’m just taking the piss….

  2. HI Kester,
    Enjoying the blog mate. Am so glad that you have written about Mark Wallinger here. I have met Mark a few times (friend of a friend), in fact he recently attended a fundraiser to raise money for our Youth work. We have had the privilage of showing a couple of Marks video pieces here at St Stephen’s and had Mark talk about them afterwards. Anyway enough of the name dropping ramble…..
    Have you seen his piece ‘Threshold to the Kingdom’? It is absolutely phenomenal. You can read about it (and some of his other work) here
    a quote from the article ‘Trickery is intrinsic to Wallinger’s sophisticated and distinctly ambivalent conceit.’ If you want to see the piece I’m sure I can arrange it.
    After the huge success of Ecce Homo in 1999, made for the vacant plinth in Trafalgar Sq. A Friend of mine worked with Mark to try and place the statue in one of the Major Cathedrals. After talks with the staff and St Paul’s Mark commented to my friend that he wasn’t happy about the statue being treated as other statues are – placed up high for people to look at. He was keen to have the statue placed somewhere within the congregations seating so that he would stand alongside the worshippers, a statement of Christ’s Humanity. My friend pointed out that when the congregation sat down Jesus would still be standing to which Mark replied “He was always an awkward Bugger!”. Mark has spotted the dimension of trickster in the person of Christ and is doing well at playing tricks himself.

  3. Great name-drop mate! Lucky bugger – he really is a hero of mine. I’ve seen the ‘Threshold’ piece too – can’t remember where. It’s weird – I actually am quite moved by that moment every time I go through those doors at an airport now!
    I’d love to be able to get hold of it sometime… Probably when Vaux re-emerges in some form or another.
    Thanks for the trickster quote – really nice. So good to see him playing tricks with the Trickster himself.
    Hope you’re well… see you at the ‘belt?