Rachel Kneebone

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Rachel Kneebone (born 1973) is an English artist, who lives and works in London.[1]

Life and work[edit]

Rachel Kneebone was born in Oxfordshire. She graduated in 1997 with a First Class BA (Hons) degree from U.W.E, Bristol. In 2004, Kneebone graduated with an MA in sculpture[2] from the Royal College of Art, London.

In 2005, she was nominated for the MaxMara Art Prize for Women alongside Anne Hardy, Anj Smith, Margaret Salmon and Donna Huddleston.[1] In the same year, Kneebone contributed work to a show The Way We Work at the Camden Arts Centre, London.[3]

In 2005, Kneebone was commissioned to do a wall sculpture[1] by Mario Testino for the Diana, Princess of Wales exhibition at Kensington Palace.[4]

In July – August 2006, Kneebone had her first solo exhibition in London at Madder Rose gallery, which included a number of sculptures such as Loves all-worshipped tomb, where all love's pilgrims come (2005).[5] All the works in this show sold out on the opening night.[4] Reviewer Katarina Horrox commented that Kneebone's "carefully crafted sculptures witness various organic forms merging ambiguously into human body-parts as they climb elegantly up walls. Suggestive yet sensitive, her creations harp back to Ovid's Metamorphoses, whilst their fixed immobility implies a transgression of time and motion."[5]

In 2007, The Evening Standard highlighted Kneebone as one to watch thanks to her "beautiful and sexy hand-moulded porcelain sculptures".[2] In September 2007, Kneebone's work was included in the opening group exhibition An Archaeology[6] at Project Space 176 in London's Chalk Farm area.[7]

In 2008, Kneebone began to be represented by Jay Jopling and the White Cube gallery in London. Kneebone's first solo show with White Cube The Descent was in February 2009.[8]

In 2008, Tracey Emin selected a work by Kneebone to include in her room at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition.[9] Emin said: "Her work is exciting for me – porcelain figurines, vulnerable and with an eighteenth-century look. I like Georgian things – my house was built in 1729, and I like simplicity and straight lines."[9]

She is known for finely sculpted white porcelain works[10] of various organic forms merging ambiguously into human body-parts.[5] Her work has been described as depicting an "erotic state of flux" and "celebrating forms of transgression, beauty and seduction."[11]

Her work is said to be influenced by ancient Greek and Roman myths in Ovid's poem Metamorphoses[1] and the "seductive, mythological paintings" of 18th-century artist François Boucher.[12]

Kneebone's Raft of Medusa instalment is a prime example of the white porcelain sculptures depicting a tumultuous confusion of limbs and shapes. The series of five porcelain sculptures are displayed in The Foundling Museum from 29 September 2017 to 7 January 2018. The works express the Foundling Hospital's suppressed narrative of sexual desire, emotional damage, and female strength;[13] creating a resonant component to the Museum's exhibition Basic Instincts.[14]

In January 2009, Kneebone spoke to the Tate Etc. magazine about William Blake's work The Primaeval Giants Sunk in the Soil (1824–1827), from Illustrations to Dante's Divine Comedy, 8th circle of Hell.[15]

A 2012 exhibition of Kneebone's work at the Brooklyn Museum entitled Rachel Kneebone: Regarding Rodin showcased 8 of her original works next to 15 works from Auguste Rodin that Kneebone had personally selected. The pairing brought to light themes of "sexuality, death, and sin."[16]

Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 2017
  • 2012
    • Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2009
    • White Cube, London
  • 2006
    • Madder Rose Gallery, London

Group exhibitions[edit]

  • 2008
    • Art Basel, White Cube, Miami[17]
    • Summer Exhibition 2008, (Gallery VIII, curated by Tracey Emin) Royal Academy of Arts, London[18]
  • 2007
    • An Archaeology, Project space 176, London
    • Dining Room Show, Andrea Rosen Gallery, Amagansett, New York
    • Mario Testino at Home, Yvon Lambert Gallery, New York
    • Meat district, Showroom Mama, Rotterdam
  • 2006
    • Zoo Art Fair, T1.2 & Paradise Row Gallery, London
  • 2005
    • Diana, Princess of Wales by Mario Testino, Kensington Palace, London
    • Zoo Art Fair, with Studio 1.1, Regent's Park, London
    • The Way We Work Now, Camden Arts Centre, London
    • Young Masters, Art Fortnight, London
  • 2004
    • Arrivals 2004, Selected by Marjorie Allthorpe-Gunyon, Arts Council, London
    • Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, London
    • Out Of Time, St. Augustine's Tower, London
    • Show 1, Upper Gulbenkian Gallery, Royal College Of Art, London



  1. ^ a b c d O'Keeffe, Alice. "The new art elite: young, gifted, female". The Observer, 23 October 2005. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e Davis, Simon. "In search of the next big thing" The Evening Standard (London) 23 May 2007. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
  3. ^ [1], Madder Rose, July 2006. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
  4. ^ a b Soames, Gemma. "Open art", The Sunday Times, 16 July 2006. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
  5. ^ a b c Horrox, Katarina. "Rachel Kneebone At Madderrose, London", Saatchi Online, 24 June 2006. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
  6. ^ [2] Retrieved 21 December 2008.
  7. ^ [3], Royal Academy Magazine, Summer 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2008.
  8. ^ "Rachel Kneebone: The Descent", White Cube, December 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
  9. ^ a b "Tracey Emin RA on curating Gallery 8 of the Summer Exhibition", Royal Academy, Summer 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
  10. ^ "A porcelain sculpture by Rachel Kneebone", The Independent, 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
  11. ^ [4], White Cube, November 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
  12. ^ "Arrivals" Archived 26 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine., 6 October 2004. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
  13. ^ "Raft of the Medusa - Foundling Museum". Retrieved 27 March 2018. 
  14. ^ "Basic Instincts - Foundling Museum". Retrieved 27 March 2018. 
  15. ^ Microtate Archived 29 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine., Tate Etc, Issue 15, Spring 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  16. ^ Gonzalez, Desiree (July–August 2012). "Rachel Kneebone: Regarding Rodin". The Brooklyn Rail. 
  17. ^ [5] Retrieved 21 December 2008.
  18. ^ [6] Retrieved 21 December 2008.
  19. ^ Goss-Michael Foundation to introduce first “Saturday Sketch Day” August 15, July 2009.
  20. ^ Nicholson, Louise. "Art For Sharing" Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Apollo Magazine, 23 September 2008. Retrieved 19 December 2008.

External links[edit]