Stitching the Body with Gavin Kenyon
By: Claire Marie Healy
MoMA PS1 selects the NY sculptor specialising in anatomical arts 'n' crafts
Gavin Kenyon's sculptures are equal parts fleshy and familar, mesmerising and weird. Spending his time between upstate New York and in the city, the sculptor works around a series of tensions in the eye of the beholder: creating biomorphic sculptures and reliefs with something of the sensibility of arts 'n' crafts. His latest series, currently showing at MoMa PS1 for his solo show Reliquary Void, takes the effect of what has come before and expands upon it – literally, with textile sculptures that loom metres above the bystander and fill the two-storey space.
"Gavin Kenyon's sculptures are a site of lyrical tension" Christopher Y. Lew, assistant curator at MoMA PS1 told us. "Allusions to gross anatomy and flesh is juxtaposed with organic curves and seemingly soft textures. His work is at once seductive and repulsive; and at its monumental scale it is looming yet awesome." We spoke to the sculptor of the moment about his practice and process.
When did you decide to become an artist?
Gavin Kenyon: My grades were not good enough to get into engineering school, so the decision was made by default.
What is inspiring you right now?
Gavin Kenyon: I am committed to continuing to work.
Is there an individual who has helped you get to where you are as an artist today?
Gavin Kenyon: Of course there are many. How could I ever thank them all?
Can you tell us a bit about your practice?
Gavin Kenyon: It is kind of technical and boring, but also physical and satisfying.
What's the work that you're proudest of?
Gavin Kenyon: The work others make at iron casting sessions that I facilitate. It is always great to see what happens when people are given access to something new. I am glad that I can offer this experience to others.
What's your favourite colour?
Gavin Kenyon: De Kooning's pinks.