Yesterday’s labour is the Future’s folly

Clare Kenny
16
October
,
2013
23
November
,
2013

A solo show of new works by Basel-based artist Clare Kenny; the gallery’s inaugural exhibition in the new ground floor premises at 183-185 Bermondsey Street, London. Kenny creates work that is a hybrid of photography and sculpture. Often using photographic imagery as a means of navigation or a strategy to inform a three-dimensional piece, she explores possible slippages between materiality and subject matter.

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A trio of three-dimensional print works are comprised of photographs found in the artist’s archive of images and remodelled into architectural or rock-like forms. Whether wrapped into a column or scrunched up, photographs form a sculptural mass and toy with perception and memory.

Form and content reflect a concern with the nebulous divide between fact and fiction. Real and fabricated memories of the artist's life are recorded and fed into the images and materials that comprise each work. Images are manipulated in stages, often abstracting or duplicating details in an attempt to reveal new meaning or question ideas on authenticity.

Her solo show at VITRINE includes work from a new vein of site-specificity that has developed since her residency at Cite des Artes, Paris earlier this year. A wall-based piece created especially for the exhibition brings to mind architectural guiles such as the fake exposed brick wall in the city apartment or the mock-stone finish on a brick townhouse. The emulation of both material and architectural motifs, a recurring theme in Kenny’s work, allows for the broader exploration of the decoy and draws from our routine efforts to screen a feebler truth with a fabricated reality. Material and architectural motifs question rather than endorse falsehood. Kenny's abstractions play with the systems we employ to judge and exploit material value.

A new series of works based on trellis’s commonly found in gardens further questions the nature of the physical space in playfully switching between the outdoor and indoor. The trellises act both as free-standing sculptures and frames for new photographs and neon works.

Making work born of humble origins, Kenny explores the potential to upgrade the status of materials through a combination of manipulations. "The forging of narrative fragments with materiality and a sense of mise-en-scene is in force in the work of Clare Kenny. In using disparate matter such as discarded kitchenware, paint, plaster and her own salvaged photographs, a sense of the familiar is something that always catches the corner of your eye." Natasha Rees on Clare Kenny, September 2013The works in ‘Yesterday’s labour is the Future’s folly’ exist in a realm apart from concrete reality and allow the viewer insight into a history defined not by fact, but by form. The distance from traditional ideas of genuine and fake allow the viewer to both enter into a fictional realm and re-evaluate ideas of truth and authenticity.

Curated by Alys Williams.

Selected press

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