“At the fair,” said artist Joel Kyack who was wearing yellow overalls, “you acquire things through money and connections, often times or status. And here, it’s just a game of luck.” The winner at his game, “Most Games Are Lost, Not Won,” gets a full-length mirror that’s been transformed by Mr. Kyack with paintings you might see in a biology book. “The respiratory system,” he said pointing to one mirror on the side of the truck with a brown pair of lungs, “the lymphatic system.”
Mr. Kyack was standing in front of a truck that operates like a game truck at a state fair, which is one of eight projects commissioned by Frieze New York in which artists were invited to respond to the environment of Randall’s Island. But unlike the wheeling and dealing going on inside the art fair tent, out here on the banks of the East River, the only way you can get an artwork by Mr. Kyak is by winning one of the games he has set up—a ball drop and a ring toss. And this truck represents the internal workings of the body.
“This is the mouth,” he said pointing to a target with a small black hole, that looked like a game of ski-ball with the target set within a flesh-toned sculpture with a pink orifice.
“Ohhh,” someone yelled. We looked over and a man was standing by the side of the truck tossing a small ring that fell into what looked like a big cauldron of blood. “This is a rib-cage splayed open. And then there’s a private lounge in the back that’s like the rectum.” We walked around the truck and there were two small chairs set up in the quasi-darkness with little else.
Mr. Kyack’s work is often centered around the concepts of performance, control, the line between the individual and the community and often involve artful bloody simulations of bodily functions. Full disclosure, The Observer met Mr. Kyack at an art residency program in 2009 where the artist was at the time working on an installation called The Knife Shop. He taught us how to throw knives.
“Running a game is a really unique performative space,” he said. He would know. Growing up, Mr. Kyack’s family had a booth at a country fair. He liked performing at an art fair, where people “aren’t here to play games” and the tone is often serious. The point is to invite people “to enter another dialogue.”
“They become very different,” he said. “The first ball gets thrown and they get excited. Especially if they get close, they’re worked up.” A man in a suit and trenchcoat threw the ball toward the gaping orifice and smiled. “Nice try,” Mr. Kyack said walking over.
Forget about angling for artwork in the throngs in the tent and try your hand at a game of chance on the grass.
Click through for a sampling of some other Frieze Projects commissions.