In this video, British artist Clare Kenny takes us on a tour of her exhibition “If I was Rich Girl” at Kunst Raum Riehen in Riehen (Basel, Switzerland). The show features her fantasy collection of artworks, which she borrowed from renowned collections. It includes works by Roger Ackling, Louise Bourgeois, Heidi Bucher, Helen Chadwick, Valie Export, Günther Förg, Imi Knoebel, Wolfgang Tillmans, Josephine Wood.
If I was a Rich Girl. An exhibition by Clare Kenny featuring her fantasy collection at Kunst Raum Riehen (Basel, Switzerland). June 27, 2019.
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Under the title “If I Was a Rich Girl”, Clare Kenny generously invites us into her personal collection of works of art, which she borrows from renowned collections. As a frame for the borrowed works of Imi Knoebel, Heidi Bucher of Helen Chadwick, for example, the English-born artist transforms the art space into a refined version of herself.
The subjunctive in the title is programmatic and addresses art in its quality of creating a space of possibilities. Beyond functional and economic legalities, the audience is confronted with a proposal of reality that in everyday life corresponds more to the materiality of a dream or fantasy.
Clare Kenny, master of material rhetoric and skilled in the art of furnishing, however, brings it to the profane level. She is interested in the aesthetic form of desire. What exactly does the dream of an improved home look like and which familiar forms do we quote to build a promising future or to represent the step up?
Owning art means claiming it. On the one hand, the works themselves demand a context that makes them works of art in the first place∞ on the other hand, the owners claim to belong to a culturally elevated social class. But to what extent do these factors underlie the works themselves? Is art only a plaything and a placeholder – a reservoir for desires?
In contrast to the art-historically legitimate value of the borrowed works, Kenny uses materials from the DIY store and uses various techniques such as marbling, wood grain, fresco and staffage to embellish the exhibition space. She creates objects such as carpets, curtains and lamps, which are related to the borrowed works of art and form the “elevated” frame for them or even satirize them.