Rachel Kneebone: Raft




White Cube presents ‘Raft’, an exhibition by Rachel Kneebone at Mason’s Yard, London. Featuring porcelain sculptures and drawings, the works focus on themes of transformation and metamorphosis, and the material manifestation of these fluid physical and mental states.
Responding to Théodore Géricault’s essential theme of the agony of physical existence, Kneebone probes the arc of human life: birth, growth, change and death. The title of the exhibition alludes to Géricault’s monumental painting The Raft of the Medusa (1818–19). A high point of French Romanticism, the painting depicts a moment of grave crisis with desperate bodies cast adrift following the wreck of a naval frigate. Kneebone’s reference to Gericault’s painting, however, goes beyond specific iconography and instead cuts across space and time, invoking contemporary concerns such as the perils of migration, the tragedy of displaced persons, but also hope in the face of despair.

Kneebone’s work is resolved through a process of creative exchange between herself and her material, between decisive acts of modelling and the elements of chance that are bound up in working with porcelain. ‘To disregard control of the material means setting things up to unfold as they will, rather than making things happen. This enables me to work beyond my limitations,’ she has commented.

In Kneebone’s sculptures, compositions emerge and dissolve into undulating masses of modelled clay. Recumbent limbs stretch out into the surrounding space in different directions, with vegetal forms interwoven and conjoined. In each, a single, smooth orb sits in contrast to these dense and intricate parts, as if anchoring the whole and forestalling collapse. While the sculptures are related through repetition of form and scale, marked compositional differences occur, these often being the outcome of the porcelain absorbing and integrating the variable tensions, splits and collapses acquired during the firing process.

Duration 07 July 2021 - 04 September 2021
Times
Cost Free - advance booking required
Venue White Cube - Mason's Yard
Address 25-26 Mason's Yard (Off Duke Street), London, SW1Y 6BU
Contact 2079305373 / enquiries@whitecube.com / www.whitecube.com

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