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Jenkin van Zyl, Surrender (2023)

Jenkin van Zyl

Surrender (2023) invites you into Jenkin Van Zyl's psychotropic film-world centred around an endurance dance marathon, and the cryptid lore of the "rat king"

FACT Liverpool
88 Wood Street
L1 4DQ
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Jenkin van Zyl’s work invites us to consider the common anxieties of our society, and how they may be influencing the culture of our present and future. Exploring ideas of productivity, escapism and community, Surrender (2023) brings us into Jenkin’s hallucinatory film-world, centred around a gruelling endurance dance marathon and the cryptid lore of the ‘rat king’. Spilling across the ground floor galleries, Jenkin transforms these spaces into immersive environments, from a dancefloor inside the belly of a rat, to an energy drink-lined trophy room.

Inside the ballroom, an endlessly looping film follows the experience of GRACE, a visitor to the Paradise Engineering Endurance Partnership (P.E.E.P.) Hotel. Inspired by the transient nature of Japanese love hotels - short-stay fantastical spaces that can be booked by the hour for “rest” - GRACE checks in and begins to compete, along with other paired couples, in a series of increasingly strange tournaments that play with the limitations and expansiveness of the body. Fuelled by an endless stream of ‘Limitless’ branded energy drinks, it’s unclear whether GRACE’s drive to participate emerges from an insatiable yearning, or from a desire for community, oblivion, or victory in the marathon.

‘The marathon was a place for dreaming. And if reality was failing us, we could count on each other (if no-one else) to dream big.

Through these works, Jenkin questions ideas of individuality and collectivity: community-building fosters belonging, allyship and resistance, but often neoliberal frameworks pit us against each other for basic survival. Surrender evokes a sense of menace and anxiety that reflects the needs and fears of our current moment - our need for productivity and success competes with our desire for community, at the cost of exhaustion and, ultimately, surrender.

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The exhibition includes:

  • A room with a silver mirror floor and white walls, lit from above so that reflections run across the walls.
  • Stacks of silver, red, and white drink cans.
  • Trophies in the shape of rats' heads.
  • Wooden clad walls.
  • A system of metal pipes that run along the gallery walls.
  • Three giant red and silver inflatable structures.
  • A red carpeted floor with a wooden dance floor.
  • A mirror ball that spins and reflects light.
  • The gallery is wheelchair accessible.
  • There is no seating in the gallery with the silver floor, but folding chairs are available on request.
  • There are red wooden and velvet seats in the main gallery, positioned next to small red tables.
  • The gallery has dark walls but is lit with ambient light from the projection, plus spotlights on all sculptures and structures.
  • Occasionally the work contains strobe effect lighting.

If you have any questions or feedback about the accessibility of the exhibition, please ask at the Information Desk on the ground floor and we will be happy to help.

Jenkin Van Zyl, Surrender (2023). Courtesy the artist and Edel Assanti. Sculptural elements commissioned by FACT Liverpool with support from the Henry Moore Foundation. FACT is supported by Arts Council England and Liverpool City Council, with support from Culture Liverpool.

Surrender (2023)

Surrender (2023) invites you into Jenkin Van Zyl's psychotropic film-world centred around an endurance dance marathon, and the cryptid lore of the "rat king".

Jenkin van Zyl Surrender 2023 Film still

Special Event

Last Dance


Jenkin van Zyl presents new short film, Last Dance (2023) from the inside of a limousine parked outside FACT.

Jenkin van Zyl Surrender Film Still




SOLD OUT. Cast members of Jenkin van Zyl’s Surrender invite you to an evening of durational performances that mirror the film’s wider themes.

FACT 20th Birthday Exhibition Launch 21 10 23 web files 62

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