Construction with Found Map Pieces
30 x 30 x 3 in.
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Crowland is a complex ‘map’ drawing made from collected map fragments which are mounted on pins and so appear to float together in a three-dimensional collage. It is an abstract composition where the elements are not abstracted from nature but are derived from the world through the medium or cartography. The title is taken from one piece of map, a little township in Canada called Crowsland – it also draws attention to the impression that black birds cover the land. The work is framed in a museum standard perspex box frame.
Chris Kenny was born in London and studied art history at the Courtauld Institute. He has been exhibiting since 1985 in Europe and America and is collected internationally.
Kenny works with humble, found materials such as bits of book, map, and wood and transforms them into fragile pertinent worlds to scrutinise and in some cases be scrutinised by. From a distance his text assemblages are variegated, geometric bas-reliefs suspended in shallow vitrines. As one approaches, the detail becomes clear: poetic phrases instructing, interrogating or educating the viewer, arrayed in tiny terraces. There is a taxonomy of fonts, paper textures and shades, a balance of poignant fragility and absurdist wit, a tension between the flimsiness of existence and the wish to comprehend.
He uses maps similarly – graphic languages jostle for superiority as they proclaim the significance of their little patch of the earth. Letters cut from maps, tiny circles of the earth, are ordered in grids spelling out geographical concepts or a passage from Genesis describing the planting of the Garden of Eden. Colourful endpapers from books are collaged in fine stripes in constructions that present very short, single phrase poems.
The attempt to envisage heaven on earth through painting landscape is explored in rows of little houses built from discarded amateur pictures of idealised Nature, their facades incised with large letters to spell out mythical paradises: Arcadia, Elysium etc. They become little streets or queues: identities waiting patiently and dreaming.