Darian Leader nominated artist Rachel Kneebone:
I visit Rachel Kneebone in her studio every few weeks to look at the sculptures she is working on and chat about making and creating. Rachel is a natural. Where so many artists today try cynically to play the market and come up with a product, Rachel just follows her hands. They do things she doesn't anticipate and the works always follow their own course, their own logic. The results are remarkable, fusing the organic with the inorganic, the formal with the informal and the broken with the unbroken. There is a deep engagement here not only with conceptual issues and art historical problems but with life itself, and what it means to inhabit a body.
She is currently making a series of works inspired by Gericault's 'Raft of the Medusa', showing a packed concentration of bodies on brittle, fractured bases, evoking both the horror of migration and the loss of foundation it involves. There are also new works drawing on Ovid's 'Metamorphosis', exploring the process and pain of physical and psychical transformation, something that is really central to Rachel's practice.
Her work is never easy to label or describe, and people are always trying to find a formula to encapsulate it. But the sculptures themselves are about how boundaries fail to contain, and that is perhaps one of the reasons why containing them in categories is so tricky. But Rachel is no mystic - she riffs around the work in so many different ways, never taking the escape route of devaluing speech. When I leave the studio, I'm thinking about her sculptures and the words we use to talk about them and the essential difficulty of putting into words, themes which make me engage with my own work as a psychoanalyst in a renewed way.
Rachel Kneebone and her work: