The phrase ‘Jiggery-Pokery’ means ‘clever trickery’ or ‘dishonest manipulation’. It derives from the Scottish phrase, joukery-pawkery, dating back to at least 1686 and formed from the words joukery (‘underhanded dealing, deceit’) and pawky (‘artful, cynical, sly’). Occasionally, the phrase appears in contemporary discourse, such as when US Supreme Court Justice Scalia referred to his colleagues’ reasoning as “interpretive jiggery-pokery”. In this new suite of major paintings and sculptures, Modrzewski depicts a cast of abstracted characters engaged in arcane rituals or playing various tricks and games. Jesters, magicians, fools, cheats, thieves, demon-pets and ghostly apparitions jostle with one another in an open narrative stretching across the gallery. As is often the case in Modrzewski’s practice, bodies are shown enmeshed in bureaucratic systems or labyrinthine legal processes. In the world of Jiggery-Pokery, language and representation are never stable – they are sites of deception and illusion. Rational systems descend into nonsense puppetry; acts of interpretation (legal or otherwise) lead to circular reasoning, and what may appear at first to be meaningful gestures, upon closer inspection, dissolve into a cluster of contradictions. Forms and symbols shape-shift in scenes that hover between figuration and abstraction. This ambiguity is central to Jiggery-Pokery. Like the cheat who surreptitiously returns the captured Queen to the chess board, or sneaks an extra Ace into the pack of cards, appearances are never quite as they seem. Rather, the rules of the Jiggery-Pokery universe are subject to the controlled manipulation of tricksters and fraudsters. The exhibition continues Modrzewski’s investigation of the historical foundations of social interactions, such as law, language and etiquette. Jiggery-Pokery depicts both rule-makers and rule breakers, as well as the sometimes violent consequences of transgression. Through their many sleights of hand and acts of deception, the characters in Jiggery-Pokery create new realities. Sometimes, the rule-breakers are discovered and punished. Other times, their deceit goes unnoticed, and they become rule-makers.