Basel based artist Clare Kenny’s artistic practice engages with the processes and materials of photography. She treats the photograph itself as object, exploring its nature and surface and translating its language into other forms and media. Her artistic research goes further than the photograph itself, and so she experiments with related materials, approaching the photograph’s soul through different ways.
We had a chance to pass by her latest exhibition Tales of the Authentic at Galerie Gisèle Linder in Basel.
Clare Kenny’s second solo exhibition at Galerie Gisèle Linder brings together a large ensemble of work to create an overview of the artist’s practice as it has developed since she arrived in Switzerland in 2007. Thanks to exhibitions in Basel, Zurich, Geneva and Lausanne, Kenny has become well known in this country as an artist who exuberantly engages with the processes and materials of photography, often making three-dimensional objects from photographic origins. These formal concerns are undoubtedly important, but this exhibition also emphasises the personal elements that form the foundation for the artist’s work.
This exhibition, for example, includes 3 plaster impressions taken from photography developing trays entitled Arrested Development (2014), which are displayed hanging on the wall. Where the base of the tray is reproduced, the plaster has a Scagliola finish that was created during casting. Scagliola is a plaster effect traditionally used to create imitations of marble in grand buildings, one that Kenny knows well thanks to experience gained as a specialist decorator’ creating such illusions.
-Aoife Rosenmeyer (From Galerie Gisèle Linder)
We asked Clare Kenny a few questions which she graciously answered:
Bianca Pedrina: I understand you were trained to be a specialist trompe l’oeil painter. Can you tell us more about your background?
Clare Kenny: I studied fine art at the Chelsea School of Art in London. Whilst studying I worked, amongst other things, as a specialist painter, painting trompe l’oeil effects for aristocrats with dubious taste and those who emulate them. I moved to Basel , Switzerland via Barcelona more than 7 years ago, and stayed put.
What artists do you like?
I have a special connection to the work of Helen Chadwick.
What art related or not art related texts do you like at the moment?
Recent books that I read were WG Sebald’s The Emigrants and Susan Stewart’s On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection… both great!
What is your working method? Do you develop your works in a long term process or do you ‘invent’ them as finished artworks in your head already?
Both ways actually, but mostly they are process driven.
The Past was yours but the future is mine II, 2014. C-Print, Alu frame, 100×70 cm