A pair of bemused officers forced their way into a London gallery on Sunday, reportedly under the misconception that a sculpture of slouched-over woman was a real person in need of help.
Artnet News first reported news of the incident at Laz Emporium, which involved taking a locked door off its hinges in order to see to what ended up being a sculpture by the American artist Mark Jenkins.
The sculpture, Kristina (2022), shows a life-sized woman with long, blonde hair and a yellow hood who appears to be unconscious, her head buried in a bowl of soup. The work was commissioned by Steve Lazarides, the dealer behind Laz Emporium and the former agent of Banksy, and was based on the gallerist’s sister.
The incident took place on November 25, when London’s Metropolitan Police responded to a call about a person in distress at the Soho gallery. A short 20 minutes later, just before 6 p.m., “officers forced entry to the address, where they uncovered that the person was in fact a mannequin,” a police spokesperson told Artnet.
The officers said they received a call saying a woman in the gallery had “not been moving for the last two hours,” which led them to believe someone had suffered either a heart attack or an overdose.
“The work is to provoke and it’s definitely achieving that,” Hannah Blakemore, a gallery employee, told Artnet.
The sculpture, which currently sits in the gallery’s window, has stirred up trouble before. Paramedics were called to the scene when the sculpture appeared at London’s art and design fair Decorex in October.