Rachael Allen

19th October – 1st November 2009

Blessed are the cracks

From The Day Of All Conception

I am an artist with an obsession for antonyms: presence and absence, pleasure and pain, love and hate, life and death. With each paired opposites, there is a harmonious marriage between subject and (art)object. The ‘grotesque’ is exquisitely drawn: the ‘undesirable’ is beautifully sculpted in miniature. I function on a level of seduction that invites the viewer to enter a diminutive world that speaks about the universal mortal condition.

Dead Lust

Prior to the residency, the intimate juxtaposition of birth and mortality resided in miniature objects; those that nourished lived experience and sentimental in relation to life, death and disease. For now, I depart from the symbolic inanimate object in favour of the bloody vessel where authentic experience manifest, that is, for the living.

Deathly Black series

Death is a sign of life. The symbology of life sits beside the symbology of death. We cannot escape, control or deny our mortality; it is our final appointment we will attend in life. And yet for most, it remains an unacceptable idea; images of death are unpalatable, uncontrollable, painful and often irrational.

Untitled (Still-Life)

Untitled (Still-Life)

Untitled (Still-Life)

And so, in the words of Hirst,: “Art is the salt that the artist rubs into the wound”. I am the artist and you are my open wound in which I have to confront such common convictions. The artistic visions for 25 Stratford Grove pay respect to the Vanitas masters of the 17th Century; using still-life as their milieu to explore themes of transience, the ephemeral nature of beauty and the fragility of human life. This is a home like no other; populated with sentimental objects, nic nacs and memorabilia that lay bare the humans’ desire to hoard all that is and all that has been. The mortality of such matter cannot be denied. Hence, I intervene to create a visual meditation on life’s final destination.

Untitled (Skulls)

My sincere love and respect goes to Carole for her warm welcome and support throughout the residency. A rare and admirable breed of woman whose heart stretches to embrace each and every one of us.

Untitled (Perfect Lovers) after gonzalez-torres

Rachael Allen



Baby Skeleton Fetal Pose

Rachael Allen

Rachael Allen

Rachael Allen

“Allen’s work tackles big questions (often, ironically, with very small objects) without losing sight of the humble human touch that gives great art its edge. Her work tunes into the very moment of paradigm shift within the scope of human life – the point at which potential becomes waste, youth becomes age, life becomes death – but does so with an eye for humour, detail and non-patronising empathy.” Fiona Shaw on Rachael Allen.


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