‘Enough rope to hang ‘emselves’ is the second solo exhibition at the gallery of Manchester born, Basel-based artist Clare Kenny. Clare Kenny works with a variety of materials such as found objects and building materials, neon and photography where reality and representation are explored.
‘Enough rope to hang ‘emselves’ comes from a larger body of work that will be shown in her hometown, Rochdale, Greater Manchester; in her first solo institutional exhibition in the UK in 2017 at Touchstones. The works in the exhibition at VITRINE and later at Touchstones respond to each space, their individual environments and the artist’s recollections of her home county. Through subtle gestures and assemblages, Kenny adapts a story, translating a new narrative, reflecting concerns of the nebulous divide between fact and fiction.
Informed by personal viewpoints and experiences, especially her upbringing and family history, Kenny often toys with notions that relate heavily on a wider level to many people’s lives, where shared histories is a recurring theme throughout Kenny’s practice. For ‘Enough rope to hang ‘emselves’, Kenny takes a family story regarding her grandmother, who spent much of her life working in a rope factory, as the catalyst of constructing an installation and a body of work. Addressing her northern england upbringings, memories of home and the common experiences of working class families since the industrial revolution during the 1900’s, Kenny devises a multi-layered installation juxtaposing materials of poorer and higher values and adopting methods often associated with the domestic.
Following the first World War, the rope factory and many other industries fell into decline and poverty ensued; prompting a depression in social and economic conditions. As with most working class people of Kenny’s grandmother’s generation, she hoped for better things for her child and encouraged Kenny’s mother to achieve something more.
Aspirations of the working class and their determination to better themselves is something Kenny often references within her own work, especially within ‘Enough rope to hang ‘emselves’. A neon washing line is erected across the entirety of the 16-metre vitrine where a series of bronze and marblised sculptural works sit amongst it, replicating the washing lines strung across gardens, ginnels or other available spaces. Addressing personal affiliations with Northern England is inherent, by carefully highlighting the use of domestic objects and use of materials, Kenny transforms them into objects of high esteem, focussing on shared visual memories and aesthetics of aspiration, something of which Kenny feels is lacking in contemporary art.
‘Enough rope to hang ’emselves’ is generously supported by Arts Council England.
Clare Kenny (b. 1976, Manchester, UK) studied her BA at Chelsea School of Art London and MA at HSLU Luzern, Switzerland, and has been living and working in Basel, Switzerland for the last eight years. She has exhibited internationally with solo shows at Schwarzwaldallee, Basel (2016); Galerie Gisele Linder, Basel (2014); VITRINE, London (2013), Bureau Gallery, Manchester, UK (2013), DOLL espace d’art contemporain, Lausanne (2012), Gisele Linder Galerie, Basel (2011) and ABBT Projects, Zürich (2011). Her forthcoming solo exhibition at Touchtones, Rochdale, UK opens in March 2017. Recent group shows include Ding Ding, Aargauer Kunsthaus (2016); Jahresausstellung Zentralschweizer Kunstschaffen, Kunstmuseum Luzern, CH (2016); A Journey from a sweeping gesture to a lasting effect, VITRINE, Basel, CH (2016); Diamonds Always Come in Small Packages, Kunstmuseum, Luzern, CH (2015); Wilde Capriolen, AKKU Emmenbrücke, CH (2015); Monolithic Water, Kunsthaus Zürich, CH (2014) and ‘Asymmetric Dance Class’ at VITRINE, London, UK (2014). She has twice been shortlisted for the Swiss Art Awards and was awarded the Kunstkredit Prize from the city of Basel in Switzerland in 2013. She was an artist in residence at the IAAB cite des artes, Paris in 2013 and most recently completed a residency, which included a program of three solo exhibitions, at the Institute for Provocation in Beijing, supported by ProHelvetia.