Published in Espace Magazine, #109, Winter 2015
White Cube, Bermondsey, London
18 July - 28 September 2014
Hybrid body parts, severed limbs and phallic figures populate Rachel Kneebone’s 399 Days (2012-2013). Towering over visitors as they enter the White Cube’s 9x9x9 gallery space in Bermondsey (London, UK), the artist’s psychosexual hinterland takes the form of an erect column that soars towards the cubic room’s bright skylight. Unfolding an infinite spiral narrative that purposefully lacks a cohesive beginning, middle and end, the ivory sculpture refutes both history and the passage of time. Instead, it chooses to focus on the now, or rather the viewer’s immediate visceral reaction to the anagrams of vehemence and violence that inhabit Kneebone’s porcelain chrysalis. Hence, recognizable shapes rub shoulders with the quintessentially bizarre, as 399 Days simultaneously conveys familiarity and strangeness, beauty and horror, purity and adulteration, ecstasy and mortality, fragility and monumentality, playfulness and menace, and completeness and provisionality. It is through these acts of negation that the artist’s uncanny plot unfolds.