Kate Daudy

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Kate Daudy (Born 19 November 1970) is a British artist who lives and works in London. Her work is inspired by an ancient Chinese literati tradition of inscribing poems on to objects.[1]

Wedding Dress by Kate Daudy

Her technique involves composing poetry that reflects or contrasts with the nature of the object of her choosing.[2] The letters that form these poems are cut from felt fabric and applied in different techniques, depending on the object.[2] Through her scholarly examination of the memory of objects Daudy explores concepts of communication and language, spirituality, solitude and East/West relations.[1]


The concept of writing on objects originates to the beginning of Chinese civilization, when tortoise shells and scapulae were used to predict the future. These ‘oracles bones’ would go through a process of being burnt in the embers of a fire, from how the bones and shells cracked Chinese shaman would foresee the future and subsequently write what they had predicted on those shells.[3] This was particularly prevalent in the Shang Dynasty(1600-1046 BC).[4] The calligraphic writing or inscribing of poems onto objects became an elevated art form in itself, perpetuated by the ruling Emperors, who would compose poems to be inscribed onto paintings or works of art of special significance to them.[4] By perpetuating this literary tradition as a contemporary plastic art form Daudy’s work has brought these ancient concepts back to mainland China itself, where the tradition had been lost.

Kate Daudy creates written interventions, mostly in public spaces in nature, walls, fabric, based on an ancient Chinese literary practice of seeking to understand the universe through art and nature. Daudy’s Chinese studies have driven a profound interest in calligraphy and Chinese philosophy, and have led to her working in a variety of mediums, including using felt fabric to create her writings.[5]

She uses felt as her medium which is for her a symbol of redemption, as it is made from the rubbish of the fabric industry.


Her first show “Written in Water” (2009) with Grant White at the Galerie Marie Victoire Poliakoff [6] in Paris examined the memories associated with items of clothing, inscribing vintage dresses with poems that reflected their identity. Le Figaro compared Daudy's and White's work to that of Jean Cocteau and Elsa Schiaparelli.[6]

Yellow Mountains, Red Letters exhibited at Bonham's London 2010 [4] featured her calligraphic works on photographs by Chinese art specialist Daniel Eskenazi.

Night Shining White by Han Gan (Tang Dynasty)
"Night Shining White" by Han Gan (Tang Dynasty)

A committed peace advocate, her most celebrated work, the "War Dress" was commissioned by the Southbank Centre, London for the Poetry International festival.[4] It featured Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est' inscribed in khaki letters down the train of a wedding dress.

She has since collaborated with Lemn Sissay, Glyndebourne Opera, Yang Lian, House of Voltaire[6], Grant White, the Southbank Centre, Poetry International, other artists and poets.[4] Her work features in museums and major private collections throughout the world.[4]

Astronauts of Inner Space (2016) at 50 GOLBOURNE collaboration with Italian designer Paola Petrobelli and Swiss sound artist Philippe Ciompi, evoking William Burroughs' 'inner space', where the conscious and the unconscious combine to provoke memories and thoughts from the observer and to celebrate a full absorption into the living of everyday life.[7]

In 2016 she was designated by ONUART and commissioned to work on a used UNHCR refugee tent provided to her, through their introduction, by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).[4] The research upon which Daudy engaged for the purpose of this tent has led to a series of new chapters in her work, inspired by the people she encountered both refugees and those individuals connected to them. Daudy has embarked upon a prolific campaign of written interventions in public and private places, across Europe, the UK and the Middle East, conveying positive, thought-provoking messages and ideas. She has written across more than 250 places, from tree stumps to prestigious museums, rubbish bins, fire hydrants, world-famous restaurants, bus shelters, greasy spoons, grocery shops, a refugee registration centre, youth centres, libraries, schools and street corners.[8]

With the support of UNHCR, Daudy is writing her messages of bravery and hope that come directly from the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. During March 2017 she will be writing inside and outside public and private buildings in New York City. Her writing is impermanent.[9]

This is Water (2016/2017), Open Air display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Personal life[edit]

Daudy is married to Clément Daudy (son of Philippe Daudy and Marie-Christine Goüin) by whom she has three children.[10] They live in London.


  1. ^ a b Intelligence Squared Contributor 'Kate Daudy on the importance of objects at 5X15', 'Intelligence Squared', September 27, 2010, accessed 4 September 2011
  2. ^ a b Michael Hoppen Contributor “Kate Daudy and Daniel Eskenazi”, "Michael Hoppen Contemporary", accessed on 4 September 2011
  3. ^ Morton, G “Lemn Sissay and Kate Daudy”(video file), "5XI5", accessed 4 September 2011
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Skyswright, V, “Daniel Eskenazi and Kate Daudy Present Selling Exhibition of Their Collaborative Work at Bonhams”, "BONHAMS 1793" accessed 4 September 2011
  5. ^ http://www.ysp.co.uk/exhibitions/kate-daudy-this-is-water
  6. ^ a b A. Bavelier, A. Bellon, E. Frois, A. Grandjanin, A. Héliot, T. Hilleriteau, C. Monsatir, O. Nuc, S.de Santis, MN.Tranchant, V. Sasportas “Summer in Paris What to do during the second half of July?” "Le Figaro", accessed 4 September 2011
  7. ^ http://www.50golborne-artdesign.com/astronauts-of-inner-space-press-release
  8. ^ http://www.fundaciononuart.es/en/portfolio-item/kate-daudy-2/
  9. ^ http://maestroarts.com/artists/kate-daudy
  10. ^ Walker, Harriet “Poetry in motion: The guerrilla wordsmiths bringing a literary touch to vintage chic” "The Independent" accessed 4 September 2011

External links[edit]