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Chris Kenny

Chris Kenny in his studioWe have tracked down news of Chris from the internet, where the following biographical information may be located.

Some of Chris’ work is illustrated here.

Whilst some of Chris’ catalogues are listed here.

"Chris Kenny was born in London and studied art history at the Courtauld Institute. He has been exhibiting since 1985, firstly as a painter but, since the early 1990s, he has been working almost exclusively with collage and constructions.

He produces an unexpected kind of poetry with his three-dimensional ‘drawings’ and constructions made from twigs, fragments of maps and strips of found text. Many of these works are presented very precisely in an ordered manner, with objects or phrases of the same type mounted on pins and organised in a way that suggests an intention to rationalise the differences between them. There is an association with museum collections of cased specimens and scientific methodology, but as Alain de Botton has commented: ‘Kenny is a master at delicately excising something – a phrase, a leaf, a road in a map – from its normal setting, and settling it into a diminutive white museum where, hovering an inch or so above the base, it becomes free to release a hidden narrative or symbolic message.’

Kenny’s collage constructions bring together collections of found text with themes that are often humorous, sometimes melancholy, as he gently subverts the meanings of the text fragments that he culls from discarded books. These texts are cut into strips and sorted into categories such as ‘statements of time passing’ or ‘people blaspheming’. In one series of works, the faces of schoolchildren, taken from old school photographs, are lined up above statements of ambition or confession. These brief announcements anticipate and summarise their destinies, now fulfilled but never to be known.

In his mapworks, which use the colours of his materials in an almost painterly way, he says that he replaces ‘the cartographer’s logic with an absurd imaginative system. The roads float and interact in unlikely combinations that allow one’s mind to ricochet back and forth between disparate locations and associations.’ The motifs of roads, parks, football pitches, dual carriageways, car parks and innumerable other routes and places are cut from maps from around the world and identified in numerous different languages. They are re-arranged in new configurations and raised like real-life spaghetti junctions. These re-workings of maps chart the very nature of place itself, and suggest, by rendering the relationships between places arbitrary and meaningless, that there is only one place in the universe.

The art historian Andrew Spira has pointed out that the immediate appearance of Kenny’s works – geometrical and abstract – suggests that they belong to the pure and clear world of early modernism. This seems especially true of their discreet and elegant shades of white and grey, their subtle sensitivity to the aesthetic interest of shadows and their dependence on the constructivist materials of wood, glass, metal and paper.

Chris Kenny has had four solo exhibitions at England & Co and participated in numerous gallery exhibitions, such as The Map Is Not the Territory, After a Fashion and Literary Constructs. He exhibited recent work work at England & Co in Re:formed (with two other gallery artists) in October-November 2007. Kenny is represented by England & Co and his constructions have been acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum,the Museum of London and The British Museum. His collage books are represented in several public collections of artists’ books, including that of Tate, London. Kenny’s works are in private and corporate collections around the world. ”