Lawrence Walker-Tonks: Grunder

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Picture Message #1 & #2

Mixed Media Sculpture on Board, 2017

This two part sculpture was intended as a visual representation of the unsolicited nude photos I was receiving on a daily basis and the pressure that those users then put upon you to give any form of validation. The boards are coloured to represent the background of the text boxes in the messaging app.

Installation Still from GRUNDER : Version 1.2 

LGBT Foundation, Manchester, 2017

This four-foot tall malformed sculpture acted as receptionist to viewers attending the show. Playing with the audience is a big part of GRUNDER and having made each visitor sign in at the Sexual Health Clinic reception they were then directed to use a lift to top floor of the building and greeted, without warning, by this sculpture.

"What Am I worth?"

Digital Painting Series, A0 Prints, 2017

This piece stems from my own experiences from inserting myself into the world of messaging/dating apps, any social niceties depart the moment you log in. You are treated less than human, like some a piece of meat and as far as the other users are concerned, your being online is taken as unconditional consent for them to sleep with you. "What am I worth?" summarises the general atmosphere of these apps and sites when I started to question the accepted way in which they operated.

Installation Still from GRUNDER : Version 1.0 

AATMA, Manchester, 2017

Pictured on the hot-pink wall is 'Profile #2', a departure from the traditional dating profile text and based on profiles encountered through apps which allowed users to remain anonymous, lewd and disgusting. 

Installation Still from GRUNDER : Version 1.0 

AATMA, Manchester, 2017

This rather tragic scene is quite a poignant metaphor for the realities of encounters using dating apps for hook-ups as the Penis Lamps stand proudly 'ejaculating' in an empty corner with only a half-deflated balloon hanging from the ceiling for company. 

Installation Still from GRUNDER : International 

Embassy of Foreign Artists, Geneva, 2017

My work at this point was dealing with my own departure from Manchester and my own comfort zone as I grappled with a residency in Switzerland, still exploring the world of online sleaze but with the added difficulty of a language barrier. Silhouetted in view is 'The Avatar', a character created to visualise the disgusting attitudes of some of the users I had interacted with. 

Larry's current practice explores issues surrounding social media and dating apps like Grindr and Tinder and the departure of social boundaries with the adoption and acceptance of today's online culture and the unsolicited nude. Larry looks at how we present ourselves online and the departure from traditional relationships with apps encouraging users to go through sexual partners like a 'pick n mix', always offering more profiles and more content for users to consume. 

 

Larry looks at how we present ourselves online, be it fabricating our day to day existence to impress our "friends" or hiding behind a blank profile looking for love. He raises awareness of the pressures put upon people to have unsafe sex and the idea of the unsolicited “dick pic” inviting the viewer to question why it is an accepted part of today's culture. This manifests itself under the umbrella of ‘GRUNDER’, a series of tongue-in-cheek installations, grotesque sculptures and satirising large scale prints. 

 

Larry Walker-Tonks aims to highlight the immense pressure put upon social media users to drop their morals, standards and their pants with little regard for their own sexual health. Larry presents these departures from the social norm as a grotesque and grim reality.