James D. Hopkins

James D. Hopkins is a multidisciplinary artist whose work spans the mediums of moving image, painting, performance & installation. Recurring themes of absurdity, humour, and dread are all held together by an obsession with professional wrestling. He has exhibited in and curated a series of collaborative group shows in London, Wales and the South West of England and has screenings of his short films in New York. He creates short films which are turbulent and annoying with key moments of jarring-calmness; extractions from the chaotic.


Shot on high speed Phantom camera and tape, 'Kayfabe' explores a fictional background wrestler creating his own promo video and in the process transforming from a domestic state into a hyperreal one. The character was created as an embodiment of an obsession; the performance and costume combining the overt showiness of professional wrestling with a feeling of purposeful shoddiness gathered from its backyard counterpart. There is a strange contradiction between desire and repulsion, stretched and bent with a fabric of absurdity created from late nights online.

‘Kayfabe’ is a professional wrestling term which is used to describe staged events within the industry when portrayed as if they were real. It is the accepted substitution of reality and willing suspension of disbelief that allows fans to buy into completely fictionalised storylines. In this short film the performer is in a perpetual state of ‘Kayfabe’, similar to that of purgatory - between domesticity and absurdity.



UKYA City Takeover: Nottingham 2019

Moving ImageOliver WoodJ