This month, Amy Tobin, Lecturer in History of Art, University of Cambridge and Curator, Kettle’s Yard, explores the work of Rose Finn-Kelcey, featured in the latest Arts Council Collection touring exhibition Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945.
Rose Finn-Kelcey’s work stages material collisions that pose universal problems. In her early work this often concerned the disparities between being a woman and being an artist, in her later work she expanded her questioning to broader, humanist problems like the difference between monetary and aesthetic value, or the sacred and the profane.
God’s Bog (2001) very much engages with the latter, this jesmonite sculpture combines an enlarged shell with a toilet. The two have merged together as if mutated. The toilet’s smooth, pristine white is made beautiful by becoming shell-like, and vice versa, the curving form of the shell is disfigured and made abject by the toilet form and its scatological associations. Perhaps the sculpture reminds us of the impact of our civilised society on the natural world, or perhaps the suturing of the two elements, reminds us of our connectedness to the world at the most basic level.