Sculpture (MA)

Dolly Kershaw

Lives and works in London. 

Education 

BA Photography, Camberwell College of Arts, 2013

Foundation in Art & Design, Central Saint Martins, 2010

Current and upcoming exhibitions 

Current: Situationist RCA. See www.situationistrca.com for details Current: Careless Limbs. ARC 2020: The Dirty Issue, online publication

Upcoming: TOUCH ME, curated by Veronika Neukirch. Online exhibition

Past exhibitions


2020  

Tove & Melton & Lisa & Gareth & Charles & &c. Jonathan Hopson, Houston, Texas 

2019 

Today it rained on my paper mache, but it was ok. Visual Arts Center, Austin, Texas 

Work-in-progress Show. Royal College of Art, London 

Brexhibition (in collaboration with Sophie Kemp). Royal College of Art, London 

2018 

Whispering Colour, curated by Jemma Hickman. bo.lee gallery, London 

Low Entertainment, curated by Alice Woodhouse and Beckie Cove. Arch 5, Hackney 

Coventry Biennial, curated by Ryan Hughes. Meter Room Project Space, Coventry 

2017 

Art the Arms Fair, SET Space, London 

Eden, curated by Katie Hodson. Participate Contemporary Artspace, Shrewsbury 

Rooftop installation. Ugly Duck, London 

Platform Projects. The Affordable Art Fair, Hampstead, London 

Platform Projects. The Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London 

ESP Useful Editions, Production Show. Eastside Projects, Birmingham 

2016 

Mass and Momentum. South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell 

ESP Summer Camp. Eastside Projects, Birmingham 

2014 

Where's the Art? Contemporary Arts Research Unit, Modern Art Oxford 

Bournemouth Emerging Art Fringe. Bournemouth 

Over and Out. Imperial Works, London 

Residencies/ talks/ awards 

2019 

UT<> RCA Exchange: Studio Art MFA, University of Texas at Austin 

2018 

KEL Trust Scholarship 

Visiting lecturer at the University of Leeds 

Artist Talk, Meter Room Studios and Project Space, Coventry Biennial 

2017 

Artist talk, Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum 

2016 

ESP Summer Camp residency, Eastside Projects 

Bursary award, Mindfulness and Performance, University of Huddersfield 

Artist in Residence at Leamington Arts & Music Project 

Research and Development commission with Birmingham Camera Obscura 

2015 

Bursary award, Gregynog Ideas Lab IV, Tregynon, Wales

Contact

dolly.kershaw@network.rca.ac.uk

www.dollykershaw.co.uk

Collaborative work with Sophie Kempt

Instagram

Situationist RCA

Sponsors

Events

My work is situation-specific, responding to the sincerity of objects and places, and the social boundaries that surround them. It takes up space with varying convictions about doing so, from spelling out words in the lightest material I could think of, to dramatically collapsing with the volume turned up. The interplay between humour and language is an important component to my process, which often draws on double entendre, in which one meaning will relate to current popular discourse. Through such devices, I seek to negate the expected response in favour of a multitude of interpretations that shy from being agreed upon, while retaining a naive blatancy.

I am interested in the role that provocation and satire have played historically towards social progress, and how this is reversed when those in power learn to weaponise foolishness themselves. In an era in which this is often used as a political device, I have become interested in the historic role of the fool, and how his footing between humour and power correlates with artists and their ability to simultaneously entertain and manipulate. 

I have recently been replicating everyday objects at a larger-than-life scale, working intuitively with materials such as paper mache to inflate, deflate and shine a light on the things that we do and don’t laugh at in everyday life. These relate to the body, and can be seen buckling, dancing or collapsing with embarrasment. 

Many of my sculptures can be found in unexpected spaces, or are unexpected sculptures to find in traditional gallery spaces, to which the surrounding social dynamic is often key to the work and its intention to bemuse. This is central to my collaborative sculptural practice with Sophie Kemp, whereby we each make a version of a similar object found in public spaces, either symbolically or in form, which we then activate in public. The outcomes embrace absurdity through the lenses of our respective practices, posing themselves as important as the accepted public interventions that they mimic.

Buoys

Sirens

This work will be live streamed intermittently via Twitch through 16 - 31 July.
Please check back to this page for future streams.
Past live streams will be archived to the respective Twitch channels.
Please click the Twitch handles ‘sophiegracekemp’ and ‘dollykershaw’ to navigate to these.

Please see the Situationist RCA section below for information about events in relation to this work.

This is the most recent of several collaborations between myself and Sophie Kemp. We make companion pieces at a distance and reveal them to one another on completion, and then discuss documentation. In this work our sculptures are physically animated and live streamed intermittently, potentially coinciding with each other, or not. These reference our interests in objects and aesthetics that engage in systems of public control and distancing and the shonky material language of the model or replica is used to satirise and interrogate these forms. Intermittent live streaming, the chance that these works may coincide but may not, foregrounds the importance of the encounter and the moment of connection. The language of signs and signals is finding new, vital, importance in this historic, multifaceted global crisis, re-asserting itself and its authority in a context of civil discontent. The live event shown in a browser screen highlights the function of the digital as a sublime communication form which changes how we consume connectedness, both supplying connectivity between disparate parties while insisting on their physical separation. The usual usage of the live-stream as a medium is subverted by the Signals being both spectacular and anti-climactic, referencing the unpredictable, unruly and unannounced nature of sirens and buoys.

Medium: Two simultaneous digital live streams
Size: durations variable

Medium:

Two simultaneous digital live streams

Size:

Durations variable

Sophie Kemp and Dolly Kershaw:

http://sophiekempanddollykershaw.cargo.site
absurd
Absurdity
Buoys
Collaboration
Encounter
Floating
Floats
Live Work
Performance
Revolution
Rotation
Sirens

Shower siren

Medium:

Enamel plate, iPhone, audio

Size:

3:08 mins

Installation view of 'Today it rained on my paper mache, but it was ok'

1 copy

2 copy

3 copy

In 2019 I was selected for the exchange program between RCA Sculpture and the MFA Studio Art program at the University of Texas at Austin. I lived in Austin for the fall semester and developed work for a solo show in December. The show was titled 'Today it rained on my paper mache, but it was ok', and featured these Vegetable Dancers as the centrepiece.

Video credit: Kristin Lucas
Image credit: Matthew Cronin

Medium:

Ripstop nylon, bin liners, fans

Size:

Various

4 copy

5 copy

Image credit: Matthew Cronin

Medium:

Pack of insulation fibre, paint

Size:

60 x 40 x 25 cm

[untitled]

[untitled]

Image credit: Matthew Cronin

Medium:

Cardboard, cotton, newspaper, glue, paint

Size:

40 x 80 x 260 cm

9 copy

10 copy

11 copy

12 copy

The floral illustration is from a mindfulness colouring in book for adults, which I repeated as a banner with the text area blanked out. Colouring crayons were installed on a ledge beneath the print, which visitors made use of throughout the duration of the show, without signage inviting them to do so.

Image credit: Matthew Cronin

Medium:

Ink jet print, crayons

Size:

90 x 400 cm

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Image credit: Matthew Cronin

Medium:

Plaster, newspaper, glue, chicken wire, cardboard, hessian, filler

Size:

Each mug approx 120 x 80 x 80 cm

[untitled]

This sculpture was situated outside the Department of Art and Art History at the Unversity of Texas at Austin. The university is host to many historic public statues and sculptures with greater longevity, including works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Louise Bourgeois, Anthony Caro among others. The wording for this sculpture is based on the seminal exhibition 'When Attitudes Become Form', curated by Harald Szeemann at the Bern Kunsthalle in 1969, which went down in history for the curator's radical approach to exhibition practice. I created a grassy font for this sculpture, which were then laser cut and painted luminous green.

Image credit: Matthew Cronin

Medium:

Plywood, paint, tent pegs

Size:

Various

Bad Ideas Haunt Me Notebook Visuals

Bad Ideas Haunt Me

The work is a social experiment prompted by the recent popularity of the word 'failure' and widespread endorsement that it is something to be embraced. In 2019 I designed and ordered 100 sketchbooks embossed with the slogan ‘Bad Ideas Haunt Me’, which were sold on the RCA Kensington shop shelves only, from June 2019 - March 2020. I wanted to test whether I could successfully read the crowd and sell to staff, students and visitors the advertisement of themselves having ‘bad ideas'. The books are unmarked and without indication that they were anything but another product from Moleskin or similar. The project's commercial success, first as a functional product sold individually, and then as a conceptual artwork sold as a complete set, is central to the slogan's self-referential sincerity/irony dichotomy as mock-research into to contemporary criterion of success and failure.

Medium:

84 custom sketchbooks

Size:

Variable

Party Rings

Pip

Party Rings

Pip

Please see the Situationist RCA section below for information about events in relation to this work.

Both this work and ‘Barriers’ were made as collaborations with Sophie Kemp at transnational distance whilst I was on exchange at The University of Texas, Austin and she at RCA, London. Our responses are monuments to the child-like word/object associations that might normally only take place beneath a work, becoming a necessarily visible bridge in the site of collaboration between two individual practices. Both are inspired by the act of forming a community through collective efforts and sharing of resources to challenge structures. The work began when I told Sophie about a street protest I had seen just outside La Paz, Bolivia in 2015. Indigenous communities had blocked the roads with cement pipes, and I referred to them as ‘hula hoops’, as in the crisps. This association of how food operates as a communal experience opened up a conversation about the aesthetic language of protest, specifically the use of circular or cyclical forms as something which could be played with or animated.
We embraced and enforced the restriction of being unable to see what the other was making, and the work developed into duo-sculptures. Our interest in play as a site of subterfuge and resistance enabled large scale replicas of party rings to be made as appropriate companion pieces to a cement pipe replica. We both chose to activate and film our sculptures within our respective institutions; the party rings were released into a public stairway used by students and staff in the RCA Kensington building, and the cement pipe was rolled out of the site at which it had been built in the Department of Art at UT, caught on mock-CCTV, where it eventually collapsed under its own weight. In doing so, we aimed to reference and critique the structural favouring of rigid utility over play in art institutions, and re-assert the role of community within these spaces.

Medium:

Sculptures: Party Rings: paint, papier-mâché, polystyrene. Pip: cement, cardboard, hessian, newspaper, glue, Digital films

Size:

Sculptures: Party rings: dimensions variable, each ring 60cm x 5cm approx Pip: 130 x 100cm approx. Digital films: 22 secs, 1min 31 secs

Sophie Kemp and Dolly Kershaw:

http://sophiekempanddollykershaw.cargo.site/

[untitled]

Medium:

Sculpture: Cardboard, wood, polystyrene, chickenwire, gyproc, cardboard tubes, hessian, concrete, emulsion paint, vapour barrier, tape, Film: Digital film

Size:

Sculpture: 240cm x 180cm x 70cm approx, Digital film: 1min 59 secs

Sophie Kemp and Dolly Kershaw:

http://sophiekempanddollykershaw.cargo.site/
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