Author Archives: mp1132

Sensory Systems

Foreword by Richard Parry, essay by Dr. Luke Skrebowski
64pp + 4pp covers, softback, 305 x 235 mm, c. 30 colour and b/w images

Sensory Systems documents an engaging group exhibition presented at the Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, in autumn 2015. The exhibition is the first in a new annual programme by the gallery each autumn that will revolve around the theme of light, and timed to coincide with the famous Blackpool Illuminations – a six-mile-long outdoor display of lights that has drawn many visitors to the town each year since it was first switched on in 1912.

The exhibition and publication feature works by internationally acclaimed artists interested in the technology and science of light, and how this can be used to affect our perceptual experiences of space. Whether through sculpture, projection or immersive architecture, each artwork presented in the exhibition invited a dialogue with the viewer, utilising colour, pattern, movement and other factors to evoke a variety of spatial and sensory experiences.

The selection of prominent figures working internationally today who feature in the exhibition and publication are: Angela Bulloch, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Ann Veronica Janssens, Anthony McCall and Conrad Shawcross. Among these, Anthony McCall was one of the early pioneers in the field, alongside figures such as James Turrell, Mary Corse, Robert Irwin, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Dan Flavin. McCall, who moved to New York from England in the early 1970s, was highly influential with his ‘solid light’ installations. In this exhibition and publication, McCall presents You and I, Horizontal (2005), a slowly evolving, curving sculpture made of light.

The publication includes a foreword by Richard Parry, Curator at the Grundy Art Gallery, an essay by Dr. Luke Skrebowski, Director of Studies in History of Art at Churchill College at the University of Cambridge, and has been designed by Joe Gilmore / Qubik. The project has been supported by Blackpool Council, Coastal Communities Fund, Arts Council England, and is co-published by the Grundy Art Gallery and Anomie Publishing. The publication is distributed internationally by Casemate Art.

ISBN: 978-1-910221-10-5
RRP: £18 / €23 / $26
UK release date: 31 March 2016
Designed by Joe Gilmore / Qubik
Edited by Richard Parry
Co-published by Grundy Art Gallery and Anomie

LightScape: James Turrell at Houghton Hall

Texts by David Cholmondeley, Peter Murray, and Hiram C. Butler
102pp + 4pp covers, Hardback, 260 x 300 mm, c. 60 colour and b/w images

James Turrell is widely acknowledged as one of the most important artists working today. From the mid 1960s onwards his principal concern has been the way we apprehend light and space. His study of mathematics and perceptual psychology, as well as his Quaker upbringing and background as a pilot, inform his practice. His first exhibition in 1967 of ‘projection pieces’ used high-intensity light projectors to give the illusion of a solid geometrical object, often seemingly floating in space. From these investigations of light, Turrell went on to begin his series of ‘Skyspaces’. These are enclosed viewing chambers that affect our perception of the sky.

Since then he has continued to create works using light as his medium. Perhaps his most celebrated works are his ‘Ganzfeld’ chambers, whole spaces immersed in light; as well as his more recent ‘Tall Glass’ series, which resemble windows of slowly changing colour. Meanwhile, Turrell continues work on a monumental project at Roden Crater, an extinct volcano in Arizona. Here he has created a series of viewing chambers, tunnels and apertures to heighten our sense of the heavens and earth in one of the most ambitious artistic endeavours of modern times.

In summer/autumn 2015, Houghton Hall, Norfolk, hosted an ambitious and significant exhibition of James Turrell’s light pieces, many collected by the Marquess of Cholmondeley, owner of Houghton, who has long been an admirer of his work.

This publication has been produced to document and to accompany the exhibition – a project devoted to James Turrell’s work has been a long-held ambition of Lord Cholmondeley. He first discovered Turrell’s work twenty years ago, and in 2000 invited him to Houghton to install a ‘Skyspace’ amongst the trees on the west side of the house. Soon afterwards, a rusty water tank was removed from an eighteenth-century folly in the park to make way for his atmospheric interior space, ‘St Elmo’s Breath’.

The exhibition was centred around works from the Houghton collection, which also includes projections, a ‘Tall Glass’, holograms and prints. The exhibition was complemented by further loans to help illustrate the broad spectrum of Turrell’s work; and a unique, site-specific installation was created especially for Houghton – ‘The Illumination’– lighting the whole west façade of the house that could be viewed from dusk.

LightScape follows three highly acclaimed exhibitions by Turrell in 2013/14 at the Guggenheim, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The National Museum of Australia, Canberra has also hosted a major retrospective of his work which closed just as the exhibition at Houghton Hall opened.

The publication includes a foreword by David Cholmondeley, a text by Peter Murray, and interview with the artist by Hiram C. Butler. Designed by Peter B. Willberg and printed in Italy, this hardback, cloth-covered publication is essential reading for all admirers of Turrell’s oeuvre.

ISBN: 978-0-9932882-0-3
RRP: £35 / €50 / $55
UK release date: 10 December 2015
Designed by Peter B. Willberg
Edited by David Cholmondeley
Published by Houghton Hall in association with Anomie


Wolfe von Lenkiewicz

Texts by Edward Lucie-Smith and Richard Dyer
236pp + 4pp covers, Hardback, 320 x 268 mm, c. 150 colour and b/w images

This is the first major monograph on the work of one of Britain’s most dynamic artists, Wolfe von Lenkiewicz. His striking paintings and drawings mine the hallowed halls of art history and popular culture in search of visual languages, imagery, themes and motifs that he can appropriate, adapt, use and abuse, bringing together different movements, genres, periods and styles in dialogues that are surprising, innovative, challenging and sometimes provocative.

Lenkiewicz’s imagination and energy seem to be inexhaustible, concocting endless amazing hybrids such as iconic Renaissance paintings invaded by characters from nineteenth-century Japanese woodblocks, French Revolutionary masterpieces spliced with German Romanticism and the sublime, or Cubism infiltrated by Victorian children’s illustration. The result is a peculiar and fantastical cast of characters and scenarios, whether Nazi soldiers trampling through the snow towards a crashed UFO in the middle of a village scene by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Snow White making an uncomfortable guest appearance in an already troubling Balthus interior, or a
guillotined head assuming a cameo role in an otherwise serene still life.

These painterly chimera are cultural mash-ups. Sometimes irreverent, sometimes witty, other times simply beautiful, odd and arresting amalgams, they are always poignant, pertinent and decidedly thought-provoking, inviting the viewer to think across time, cultures, countries and ideologies about the many languages of art.

In the process, Lenkiewicz has established his own distinctive oeuvre, one that perhaps perfectly illustrates the notion of post-modernity within painting – an oeuvre of juxtapositions and non-sequiturs, semantics and semiotics, binary oppositions and the uncanny, pastiche and deconstruction, ruptures and elisions, the real and the irrational. As well as encouraging us to look at works from the history of art with fresh eyes, Lenkiewicz’s practice demands that we think about visual culture today, raising questions about how our understanding of the past and the present rests on shifting sands.

With an introduction by distinguished art critic Edward Lucie-Smith and a major new essay by writer and editor Richard Dyer, this beautifully designed and produced clothbound hardback book presents an impressive selection of works produced by the artist between 2009 and 2015.

ISBN: 978-1-910221-09-9
RRP: £45 / €60 / $70
UK release date: 21 January 2016
Designed by Peter B. Willberg with James Sutton
Edited by Mark Sanders
Published by Anomie Publishing, UK

Nathan Coley – to the Bramley Family of Frestonia

By Nathan Coley
190pp + 4pp covers, Paperback, 210 x 148 mm, c. 60 colour and b/w images

‘to the Bramley Family of Frestonia’ is a publication documenting a public art project in London by Glasgow-based contemporary artist Nathan Coley (b.1967). At a time when housing and the property market are at the centre of much social, political, economic and cultural debate, Coley’s project is a pertinent and thought-provoking exploration of issues of housing, ownership, history and activism.

In the mid-late 1960s, the Greater London Council moved local authority tenants out of their run-down terraced houses in the Freston Road area of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and into newly built blocks of flats nearby. The Greater London Council was planning to knock down the terraced houses and to regenerate the area, but the plans were beset by delays so the houses lay derelict for almost a decade. During the 1970s a group of squatters began moving into the old houses – there were around 150 people living in 35 houses at one point towards the end of the decade.

The group, which was an eclectic mixture of freethinkers, hippies, creatives, drop-outs and activists, became a somewhat radicalised community calling themselves the ‘Free Independent State of Frestonia’, taking the name Frestonia from Freston Road. The squatters self-organised to the point that they printed their own stamps, had their own passports and even applied to the UN for independence from the rest of the United Kingdom.

In a legal manoeuvre to prevent the authorities from evicting them without rehousing them, all the members of the community made themselves into one large family and changed their surname to Bramley, taking the name of another road on the estate. They adopted the latin phrase ‘nos sumus una familia’ – ‘we are all one family’ as their motto. The residents of Frestonia developed a strong social fabric and complex cultural life before it fell into decline due to the crime, drugs and social problems that gradually infiltrated the community.

In late summer 2015, on the site where Frestonia once stood, the first phase of apartments designed by Haworth Tompkins Architects and built by the charitable organisation The Peabody Trust was completed and its new residents moved in. With one third of the properties for sale, one third for rent, and one third under the management of the Housing Association, the complex, called The Silchester (More West) development, will consist of 112 apartments.

Nathan Coley was commissioned to make new artwork for the site. With its shapes and forms based on those of an apple tree – inspired by the history of the Bramley apple that gave its name to the Frestonia residents – Coley has not only made a striking steel and gold leaf rooftop sculpture, but also 112 small versions of the same sculpture that have been given to each of the residents as a house warming present. In doing so, Coley not only connects the new housing complex and its residents with its local history, but to wider discourses of modernism and sculpture, art and society, capitalism and alternative modes of living, hegemony and dissent.

The publication, which forms part of the artist’s commissioned project, presents a variety of texts, images and documentation relating to the new housing development, to the history of the Bramley apple and to Frestonia – including a selection of archive photographs of Frestonia taken by former resident Tony Sleep.

ISBN: 978-1-910221-05-1
RRP: £24 / €35 / $45
Release date: 30 July 2015
Designed by Hector Pottie
Edited by Moira Jeffrey
Published by Anomie Publishing, UK

Benjamin Senior – Breathless

Texts by Sacha Craddock, Ben Street, and Gabor Gyory
100pp + 4pp covers, Hardback, 225 x 195 mm, c. 60 colour images

‘Breathless’ is the first monograph on the emerging British painter Benjamin Senior. His paintings conjure up a world that is delightful, curious, quirky and distinctly his own. It is a world in which bathers lounge around pools and swimmers limber up before diving in; where we find people doing yoga and various exercise routines both indoors and out; where walkers and joggers take us out into the countryside, or into the city with their dogs. These physical activities – both leisure and sporting – would undoubtedly leave some of their protagonists out of breath, as the title of the monograph suggests, and may well inspire some viewers to shake off any lethargy and get physical too.

But despite their clear iconography and endorphin-rousing semiotics, Senior’s paintings are no mere campaign to get, or to keep, art lovers fit and healthy. For they are also carefully conceived and meticulously executed studies of the human body, of shape, line and form, of colour, tone, light and shadow. They are engaging explorations of composition and colour, pattern and geometry, textures and materials, the natural and the manmade. This interplay between the natural and synthetic is played out in surprising juxtapositions, such as blue rubber exercise balls in dialogue with various-sized cacti, or between the materials and designs of sports clothing in contrast to the rolling hills of a spring landscape, or to autumnal trees at sunset.

There are many other intriguing devices and recurring motifs within Senior’s repertoire, from cast iron grilles to unorthodox hats and hairstyles, perhaps leading his stylised vocabulary into the realms of nineteenth-century symbolist painting as much as into the health clubs, spas, leisure centres and parks of today. There is a strange sense of timelessness to Senior’s practice that is matched by a captivating sense of silence, loneliness and isolation, despite the figures often being present in couples, clusters or small groups. Behind their toned physiques, stripy towels and goggles, underneath their cagoules and peaked caps, there are, perhaps, some small glimmers of inner lives – of sentient, intellectual, cultured, emotional, sexual beings trapped within.

Senior’s oeuvre is preoccupied with repression and expression, freedom and conformity, motion and stasis, balance and inertia, engagement and disengagement. One might even describe it as a bittersweet analogy of the human body for states of mind, for energy versus futility, effort versus relaxation, health versus decline.

Senior completed a BA in painting at Wimbledon School of Art before graduating with an MA in painting from the Royal College of Art in 2010. Recent solo exhibitions include at Grey Noise, Dubai, Studio Voltaire, London, Galleria Monica de Cardenas, Milan, James Fuentes, New York, and BolteLang, Zurich.

Featuring an introduction by art critic, writer and curator Sacha Craddock, an essay by art historian, museum educator and writer Ben Street, and a text by curator, writer and lecturer Gabor Gyory, this 100-page hardback monograph has been designed by Joe Gilmore / Qubik, edited by Matt Price and published by Anomie.

ISBN: 978-1-910221-06-8
RRP: £25 / €35 / $45
Released: 9 July 2015
Designed by Joe Gilmore / Qubik
Printed by Pressision, UK
Published by Anomie Publishing, UK

Tamara Tracz – Three Books

Text by Tamara Tracz
3 volumes, each 72pp + 4pp covers, Hardback in slipcase, 135 x 210 mm, c. 15 colour and b/w images

‘Three Books’ by Tamara Tracz is a very special three-volume slipcased book. It is a story that follows several generations of a family as their lives unfold in various cities, countries and continents during the course of the twentieth century. It is a story with a cast of characters, some exceptional, some familiar, some curious. It is a story of births and deaths, of lives led and of the forces that shape them.

The family in ‘Three Books’ is a Jewish Family, and their story is one of emigration and persecution that was profoundly affected by the Holocaust. It is a story that is shared with many thousands of other families – of taking flight from the Nazi regime, of German forces arriving in towns and villages and searching out the Jewish inhabitants, of summary executions and mass graves. It is a story of branches of the family destroyed, and of the survival of others. It is as distressing a story as one might fear to read of the plight of the Jews last century.

But ‘Three Books’ is not written in the usual form of family biography, and is not only the story of this family’s history. It is also a story about stories, about the passing on of information between generations, and between different branches of a family over time. It is a story about the impossibility of ever being able to tell a complete or truly objective family history. It is a story of fragments and recollections, of oral histories and letters sent, of trying to piece things together and to fill in gaps.

‘Three Books’ is also partly autobiography, as it is Tracz’s own family that is its subject. Indeed, the reader can glean much about the author’s life as Tracz consciously lets us in to her immediate family circle, to their happy family life today. With a particular focus on her young children, Riva and Constantin, she gently shares her inner fears about being a mother, of the thought of losing her children. These are the thoughts of almost any mother, especially any mother who has heard the stories of mothers, daughters and sisters in her own family’s past who experienced such separations and losses through  oppression and genocide. It is a story about living and loving, of family and the meaning of the things that happen to them, the things that remain and the things that slip away.

But while Tracz is in some respects every woman, every mother and every daughter – and a Jewish woman in particular – she is also, quite inimitably, Tamara Tracz. A unique, remarkable and inspiring person, a writer, filmmaker and artist based in London, she does things in ways that perhaps only she can. For every word in this book has been handwritten, and reproduced as she planned and drew it. The text does not, therefore, flow as regular lines and pages, but in all manner of configurations, arrangements and patterns, and in such a way as to emphasise the mind’s reading of the text just as the voice adds when reading a story aloud. As such, ‘Three Books’ is a form of artist’s book, a creative work that sits at the interface of non-fiction and radical typesetting. Designed in collaboration with Herman Lelie, and beautifully produced in Verona, Italy, ‘Three Books’ is a story, a journey and an experience that is not easily forgotten.

ISBN: 978-1-910221-04-4
RRP: £35 / €48 / $55
Released: 1 July 2015
Designed by Tamara Tracz with Herman Lelie
Printed by EBS, Italy
Co-published by Anomie Publishing and Parkholme Press, UK

Sarah Medway – Voyage

Texts by Andrew Lambirth and Sue Hubbard
112pp + 4pp covers, Flexibound, 260 x 225 mm, c. 75 colour images

This publication presents a major body of work by the British artist Sarah Medway commissioned for the new P&O Cruises Britannia. Named by Her Majesty the Queen in spring 2015, the Britannia is the largest and highest-specification cruise ship built by the company to date, making regular voyages into the Med, to the Fjords, to the Canaries, the Caribbean and beyond. This substantial commission – comprising fifty-six paintings – is one of the latest in a long line of commissions by P&O of original works of art by living artists. 

Sarah Medway’s abstract paintings are a delicate, evocative and sincere investigation into the nature of light as it manifests itself through the myriad environments that surround us. She navigates us through the different seasons, sometimes on foreign shores – from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia and beyond – other times closer to her canal-side studio in central London. She leads us through different times of day and night, from dawn to dusk and long into the night. She takes us up to the skies, into sunlight and shade, clouds and fog, rainbows and sunsets. She takes us into fields, along the coastline, and far out to sea. With her distinctive vocabulary of abstract marks and shimmering palettes, her works build into complex webs of patterns and textures that capture something of the experience of perceiving light, colour and shapes as they filter through the atmosphere into our eyes, minds, memories and subconscious.

Specially commissioned texts by Andrew Lambirth and Sue Hubbard offer an illuminating and insightful introduction to Medway’s oeuvre and to this significant new series of paintings. Andrew Lambirth is a writer, critic and curator who has written for a number of publications including The Sunday Telegraph, The Spectator, The Sunday Times, Modern Painters and RA, the Royal Academy magazine. He was art critic of The Spectator from 2002 to 2014. Sue Hubbard is a freelance art critic, novelist, award-winning poet, lecturer and broadcaster. She has written for publications including Time Out, The Independent, The New Statesman, The Times, The Guardian, Apollo, Tate and RA, the Royal Academy magazine.

In addition to having participated in group exhibitions at Tate Britain, the Whitechapel, the Royal Academy, the World Trade Center and Austin Museum of Art, Medway has had solo exhibitions at venues including Flowers East, London, Chelsea Hotel, New York, Kienbaum Gallery, Frankfurt, The Mandalai, Thailand, and Atelier Gallery, Spain. She has works in many public, private and corporate collections in the UK, US, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Hong Kong and Thailand.

ISBN: 978-1-910221-08-2
RRP: £20 / €28 / $30
Released: 11 June 2015
Designed by Peter B. Willberg with James Sutton
Printed by Castelli Bolis, Italy
Published by Anomie Publishing, UK

Anna Freeman Bentley – Mobility and Grandeur

Introduction by Michele Robecchi, texts by Marina Cashdan and Ben Quash
98pp + 4pp covers, Hardback, 220 x 190 mm, c. 75 colour images

Anna Freeman Bentley (b. Freeman, 1982) is a painter based in London. Her practice explores the built environment, architecture and interiors, inviting emotive, psychological and semiotic readings of space. With an intense, regularly dark palette and energetic yet often intricate brushwork, her paintings depict all manner of places – derelict factories and warehouses, baroque buildings, shops, cafes, and modern industrial and corporate architecture. With a particular focus on the relationships between the design of architecture, its function and use, how these uses change over time, and how streets, areas, communities and cities decline, regenerate and gentrify, Freeman Bentley’s practice documents the changing vocabulary of architecture and captures some of the complex dynamics, atmospheres, politics and states of mind that these places engender.

This, the artist’s first monograph, features over seventy works spanning her career to date, offering a journey through the built environment that takes the viewer into realms as diverse as psychogeography and heterotopias, romanticism and modernism. From the needs and desires of individuals to those of the different communities that make up urban life in cities and towns today, her paintings open up questions about displacement and replacement, decay and rebirth, change and transformation, public and private space, social and economic mobility, aspiration and desire, buildings and people. Seeking to go beyond the visible and tangible and to explore ideas of faith and the sacred within space, Freeman Bentley’s work looks through the fabric of our physical environment to ask about what lies behind, into the dialogue between matter and spirit.

The publication features newly commissioned texts by London-based curator and writer Michele Robecchi, New York-based art writer and editor Marina Cashdan, and Ben Quash, Professor of Christianity and the Arts at King’s College London. Edited by Matt Price and designed by Joe Gilmore / Qubik, this hardback monograph presents the arresting and engaging work of one of the UK’s most promising emerging painters.

Freeman Bentley studied painting at Chelsea College of Art and Design before graduating with an MA from the Royal College of Art in 2010. She has had solo exhibitions in Berlin, Venice and California, residencies in London with the Florence Trust and with Pied à Terre Michelin-starred restaurant, and participated in group exhibitions including Bloomberg New Contemporaries, 2009, the Prague Biennale 5, 2011, and the inaugural East London Painting Prize, 2014.

ISBN: 978-1-910221-03-7
RRP: £24 / €30 / $40
UK Release: 12 February 2015
US Release: 26 March 2015
Designed by Joe Gilmore / Qubik
Edited by Matt Price
Published by Anomie Publishing, UK

Paul Simonon – Wot No Bike

Introduction by David Lancaster, interview with Tim Marlow
64pp + 4pp covers, Hardback, 285 x 200 mm, c. 22 colour images

‘Wot No Bike’ is a limited print run publication of the work of Paul Simonon (b.1955). Growing up in London in the 1960s and 70s he found himself part of the community of Bikers and Rockers that emerged from the shadow of post-war austerity and which lit the touch paper for the punk revolution within which Simonon came to prominence as bassist with the legendary punk band The Clash. Since the band split in the mid 1980s, Simonon has divided his time between music and art projects. With Simonon’s independent-minded, outsider spirit, ‘Wot No Bike’ features twenty-two paintings depicting the stock-in-trade of his life as a Biker – poised between still life and autobiography.

Simonon began studying art at art school, but soon became disillusioned and left. It was at this time that he bumped into Mick Jones who asked him if he wanted to form a band. As an aspiring painter who had never previously played bass, he first took a lead role in the band’s visual identity, rapidly learning to play the instrument as he went along. Simonon’s passion for painting had begun as a boy – his father was an avid amateur painter and Paul spent a lot of time in his studio.

It was here, surrounded by books and pictures pinned to the walls that he first encountered nineteenth- and twentieth-century movements, from Impressionism to Cubism and beyond. In addition to these, Simonon’s painting practice has been heavily influenced by twentieth-century realism, particularly the American Ashcan School, which documented New York’s working class life at the turn of the century, and the British ‘Kitchen Sink’ school of painters of the 1950s. The latter formed a part of the wider social realism movement that focused attention on the living conditions of the working classes in post-war Britain.

Inspired by these painting traditions, Simonon’s work is a personal exploration of British subculture and counterculture of the post-war decades.

Featuring an introduction by Biker historian David Lancaster and an interview by art historian, curator and broadcaster Tim Marlow, ‘Wot No Bike’ has been produced as a cloth-bound hardback publication in an edition of 1000 copies.

ISBN: 978-1-910221-02-0
RRP: £30 / €40 / $50
UK Release: 28 January 2015
US Release: 26 February 2015
Designed by Martin Bell / Fruitmachine
Edited by Bruce Cameron and Serena Rees

Published by Anomie Publishing, UK



Rachel Kneebone: Regarding Rodin

Text by Ali Smith, foreword by Catherine Morris.
88pp + 4pp covers, Hardback, 170 x 235 mm, c. 50 colour images

Rachel Kneebone (born 1973, Oxfordshire) is a London-based artist internationally renowned for her porcelain sculptures that intricately fuse human, natural and abstract forms in ways that are simultaneously serene and cacophonous, beautiful yet grotesque, otherworldly yet full of humanity. Exploring themes such as sexual desire, mortality, anguish and despair, Kneebone’s sculptures are contemporary visions of eternal truths, conveyed with endless imagination and impressive artistry in equal measure.

Launched in anticipation of ‘399 Days’, Kneebone’s latest presentation at White Cube, London, in summer 2014, this publication features works of art and installation documentation from the artist’s acclaimed solo exhibition at Brooklyn Museum in 2012, which included eight of the artist’s works in dialogue with fifteen bronze sculptures by Auguste Rodin that she selected from the museum’s collection. Curated by Catherine Morris, Sackler Family Curator at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at Brooklyn Museum, the exhibition was Kneebone’s debut museum show, highlighting the two artists’ shared interest in the representation of mourning, ecstasy, death and vitality in figurative sculpture as well as offering an illuminating comparison of the artists’ materials and working processes. Featuring a foreword by Catherine Morris and a text by Ali Smith, the publication is lavishly illustrated by photographs of the works by Stephen White and installation photography by Jon Lowe.

The centrepiece of the exhibition and a focal point of the publication is a work entitled ‘The Descent’ (2008), which at the time of the Brooklyn Museum show was Kneebone’s largest work to date. In part inspired by Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ and with engaging connections to Rodin’s iconic set of bronze doors ‘The Gates of Hell’ – itself inspired by Dante’s ‘Inferno’ – Kneebone’s white porcelain sculpture depicts myriad small mutant figures standing in a circle on the rim of a strange orifice-like pit, as if staring into hell itself, teeming with wretched limbs on the slopes below. With references ranging from Bataille to Cormac McCarthy, this apocalyptic vision of humanity and its ungodly demise captures souls condemned to eternal damnation in a sculpture that is as affecting as it is unforgettable.

Other sculptures by Kneebone included in the publication include ‘For Beauty’s nothing but beginning of Terror we’re still just able to bear’ (2011), which takes the form of a two-tier configuration of human limbs, evocative of classical myths and a history of aberrations, metamorphoses and carbon-based chimera; ‘Still Life Triptych’ (2011), which presents the viewer with three tomb-like plinths enshrouded by mysterious spheres and various bodily appendages; and ‘Eyes that look close at wounds themselves are wounded’ (2010), which renders a pitiable naked female form transmogrified through her evident anguish into an almost abstract pile of flesh, bones and organs. Beautiful, disturbing, remarkable – the gleaming white porcelain surfaces of Kneebone’s exquisite sculptures belie their dark, despairing iconography, unleashing an orgiastic nightmare of elegant depravity and classical desolation.

‘Am I the only person who sees past the dark, the classical desolation that critics like to see in Kneebone’s work?’ asks Ali Smith in her dynamic and thought-provoking text, which takes us from Apollo to Lacan on a mind-expanding journey that starts by skinning satyrs alive and ends by proclaiming the lifeforce that can be found even in prehistory’s primordial slime. Designed by Herman Lelie and Stefania Bonelli, this beautifully produced hardback publication – which contains over fifty colour reproductions and has been developed with support from Brooklyn Museum – will undoubtedly leave many readers as intrigued and impressed as they are bemused and unsettled.

Having undertaken a BA at UWE, Bristol, Rachel Kneebone graduated with an MA from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2004. She is represented by White Cube, London, with whom she has had a number of solo exhibitions, and has also taken part in group shows including ‘The Library of Babel’ at the Zabludowicz Collection, London (2010), ‘The Beauty of Distance’ at the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010), ‘The Surreal House’ at the Barbican, London (2010), ‘Living in Evolution ‘at the Busan Biennale (2010), and ‘The Best of Times, The Worst of Times’ at the 1st Kiev Biennale (2012).

ISBN: 978-1-910221-01-3
RRP: £24 / €30 / $40
US Release: 21 August 2014
UK Release: 28 September 2014
Designed by Herman Lelie and Stefania Bonelli
Produced by

Published by Anomie Publishing, UK

Images courtesy and copyright the artist; White Cube, London; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Stephen White; and Jon Lowe.