Eccentric ad land star Mark Denton Esq is behind a bonkers new east London grocery store of sorts, or at least an art exhibition masquerading as one. His current show at Jealous Gallery takes the form of an old-fashioned grocers, bearing the familiar hallmarks of hand-painted, primary coloured lettering, cheery shop assistants, and gaudy window displays.
Look a little closer however, and things take a saucier and occasionally more sinister turn: lining the shelves are tins of boiled bunny; posters offer shoppers ham fists (a steal, at only £2.50 each!), and “loose” humungous melons for £2. Items are billed as being of “questionable quality”, and visitors leave with the sentiment “have a nice-ish day.” Looking for the tills? Simply follow the blue beacon that spells “cough up” in stark neon.
The show, entitled Art Mart!, presents Denton’s Carry On-esque print works in a brilliantly all-encompassing environment. The brassy, campy aesthetic is carried through to photographic works, moving image and sculptural pieces, too: a surreal gif shows a zombified yet immeasurably cute parade of vegetables, while an implausibly chipper wall-mounted pig carries his own ham leg.
Art Mart! is billed as Denton’s “most ambitious artistic outing yet,” and displays work from previous projects such as Evil Farms (created in association with the celebrated animation company A Large Evil Corporation) and the Chinese Girl (from Croydon) series alongside new prints produced at Jealous’ print studio.
The show is a combination of the playfulness, nostalgia and some superb punning, and is a testament to the vast range of surfaces Denton can turn his creativity to. No corner of the space is left untouched, and every detail from cans to flooring, walls and even the people milling about in this little shop of (mild) horrors are art directed to within an inch of their life. It’s just the sort of silliness you need sometimes, and just the sort you’d expect from a man who named one of his many alter-egos “Nobby Bottomshuffle.”
Art Mart! Is at Jealous, 53 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PT until 16 July.