LONDON — Porcelain sculptures, including a large porcelain tower, by contemporary British artist Rachel Kneebone are on display amongst masterpieces at the Victoria & Albert Musuem sculpture collection (April 1, 2017 – January 14, 2018). Kneebone’s work explores what it means to inhabit a body, its physical limitations and cognitive possibilities. Capturing emotional states of high intensity, her porcelain works investigate themes of transformation and renewal.
Above image: Rachel Kneebone, 399 Days, 2012 – 2013
399 Days, the largest and most ambitious sculpture the artist has ever produced, is displayed as part of the exhibition; a 16 1/2 feet high porcelain tower featuring intricately modeled and detailed figurative scenarios. The sculpture combines minute detail and towering scale. Its composite tiles form one grand architectural sculpture referencing the V&A’s cast of Trajan’s column. Surrounded by 16th-century sculptures from the V&A’s collections, 399 Days echoes and challenges classical forms and Renaissance ideas of knowledge and power.
Until later this summer, three of Kneebone’s sculptures will be presented alongside Auguste Rodin’s bronzes. Placed alongside these sculptures on the hundred anniversary of Rodin’s death, the display highlights the artists’ shared interest in capturing emotive states: hope, longing, loss and suffering.
Kneebone deliberately permits her work to rupture and crack, visibly exploiting the properties of the earthen material. Although Kneebone works in porcelain – a material which may seem opposed to Rodin’s use of bronze and marble – the two artists are concerned with expressing materiality and sensuality in their work, and both emphasize the process of its creation.
Comprising organic, architectural and geometric forms Kneebone’s complex works allude to Dante, Rilke and Bataille while using the language of classicism laced with surrealism.
Text (edited) and Images from the Victoria & Albert Museum
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