London Junkers’ latest installation at the United Artists for SL West Pavilion is larger than life, immersive and a fitting tribute to one of the most famous authors to have ever lived.
At the entrance of the installation, we are greeted by an old manuscript which describes Mark Twain (then known as Samuel Clemens) during his days as a riverboat captain along the Mississippi. The manuscript reads beautifully and tells a story – a story about how Samuel Clemens acquired the pseudonym Mark Twain and went on to become one of the most famous writers of all time.
This introduction is apt as the installation itself is not entirely about Mark Twain’s writings, which undoubtedly many readers have enjoyed, but centers itself more around how his life as riverboat captain turned Samuel Clemens into Mark Twain. “Mark Twain” literally refers to the two-fathom limit that was necessary for riverboats to safely cross any stretch of water.
A major part of the installation is dedicated to London’s virtual world reproduction of the steamer boat captained by Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) himself.
“He had a prominent ‘stache, and the most “kind big blue eyes”, and his hair flew free in the wind in that lost curvy bayou.”
Thus reads the introductory manuscript. And as our eyes move towards the top deck of the boat, we realize this is not just a manuscript but an accurate description of the installation itself. For atop this gigantic vessel, stands a sculpture of Mark Twain himself, with his long flowing hair and a heavy moustache.
But as they say, we are all defined by the work we do. And so is the case with Mark Twain. London has created a figure in this installation – Huck Sawyer – who is a mashup of two of Mark Twain’s most iconic characters – Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Huck’s fishing rod and Tom’s pipe are objects which define these greatly loved characters and have been incorporated by London into Huck Sawyer most wonderfully.
The sound of the ship’s horn echoes through the pavilion where the installation is housed brilliantly and London has also found a wonderful way to incorporate the UASL elevator into the installation. The grand scale of the installation along with an immersive experience provided by London makes this a must-visit for those who are fans of the incredible author. But if you have not read any of his works, don’t worry; you are about to discover something new today.
TELEPORT TO INSTALLATION
- Marking the Twain – UASL West Pavilion