UK and Ireland first as interactive Jump Trump installation opens in Belfast
Jump Trump, the interactive visual art installation by Dutch artists Erik Kessels and Thomas Mailaender, has gone on display for the first time in the UK and Ireland as part of the 2019 Belfast Photo Festival.
It coincides with the US President’s arrival in Ireland following an official UK state visit.
The photography festival, which presents some of the finest national and international contemporary photography, runs from Thursday 6 – Sunday 30 June.
Under the theme of “Truth and Lies”, the festival will look at how photography can be used to influence opinion; from carefully choreographed photoshoots to image manipulation and misrepresentation.
The festival’s Director, Michael Weir, said: “Belfast Photo Festival works to make visual art engaging and interactive, so when we discovered the work by Erik Kessels and Thomas Mailaender it was a very strong fit with our organisational aim to make visual art engaging, but also with the theme of this year’s festival.
He continued: “The fake news phenomenon is something many people closely associate with Donald Trump, both as a perpetrator and an individual who has made accusations about being subjected to it.”
Exhibited at the Golden Thread Gallery, the Jump Trump installation sees the gallery space dominated by a one-metre deep inflated crash mat emblazoned with an image of the 45th President of the United States.
Complete with a raised platform for daring visitors to jump onto the mat, it challenges audiences to get up close to the politician and express their feelings toward the influential and often controversial figure. It was produced by the artists for Unseen Amsterdam and premiered at the festival in 2017.
Michael continued: “It is an installation that challenges audiences. The jump, whether one chooses to make the leap or not, is based on that person’s own interpretation of the piece.
“There will be visitors who choose to jump and those who won’t, but that’s a very important part of the story of this installation. It reflects how the man and his politics can be divisive and how those views, both for and against, are played out in people’s decision whether or not to engage with the artwork.”
He added: “It’s important for visual art to encourage debate and contribute to the dialogue around wider issues. Visual art can challenge audiences in ways other artforms can’t.”
Jump Trump forms part of a larger exhibition, Do Governments Lie?, at the gallery. Other works include Philippe Chancel’s Kim Happiness, a series of photographs taken in North Korea exploring the management of happiness by the country’s government, and Marc Lee’s video installation which trawls social media in real time and seamlessly weaves tweets, Instagram posts and YouTube uploads by political parties and their election candidates into a dystopian live television show.
Jump Trump is at the Golden Thread Gallery until Saturday, June 29. The accompanying exhibitions by Philippe Chancel and Marc Lee will remain on display until Saturday, July 27.
For more information on this year’s festival, visit belfastphotofestival.com and keep up-to-date on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.