Rachel Kneebone’s sculptures engage with a process that opposes the dynamic of ruptures that typify Modernist art showing a preference for the constructive dissolutions characteristic of avant-garde Literature and Performance Art. Her work seems classical, borrowing from the tradition of decorative art or art and craft, especially from the precious porcelain tableaux of the 18th century. In a similar way to Paul Claudel’s relationship to classical tragedy and romantic drama, they displace this tradition. Beyond their narrative, Kneebone’s porcelain sculptures open a critical dialogue with Modernity and some recent Contemporary art to reconsider the disavowal of rhetoric and figuration and of narrative and theatricality in sculpture. At stake in Kneebone’s practice, beyond her works perverse seductive nature, its false decorativeness and precocity; beyond even the fetishism of the gaze over the object as analysed by Hans Bellmer or by George Bataille in Story of the Eye; are some theatrical discursive conventions. Rhetoric, enunciation and performance are the core materials of her work.
Text Vincent Honoré, Paris, June 2007