Dean Kenning. Where It Was

17 Mar 2018 – 15 Apr 2018

Piper Keys

London, United Kingdom


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At its third location – formerly a gallery in Raven Row – Piper Keys opens with an exhibition of kinetic sculpture and Risograph prints by Dean Kenning.


Kenning’s kinetic sculpture, titled Renaissance Man, takes the form of a figure on all fours, its torso an open box, the limbs aluminium tube. A face, hands and feet, cast in silicon rubber, complete the approximation of a human body. With its back left open like an empty container, and its oversized proportions, it could be ridden, or taken as a place to rest. In operation, the figure is locked in a single repetitive motion, pivoting at the centre, like a stuck machine.* This is the humiliated Vitruvian Man – a dog, fucking.

First produced in 2001 as part of an ongoing series of kinetic works, Kenning has re-made and adapted Renaissance Man for its installation at Piper Keys’ new location. He describes how the task of basic engineering relegates formal concerns; the priority instead is the mechanism. The work exists in this operational form, as a series of small, technical successes. Still, the resulting movement is unpredictable and potentially destructive as it threatens to pull itself apart.

This is a debased work, not just in figurative terms, but also as a sculptural form in an embarrassing lineage: the medium of kinetic sculpture. At the same time the work departs, in an unwieldy movement, from the current condition of well-managed art. The aspiration for the work is that it survives the exhibition.

Where It Was will also include several new diagrammatic Risograph prints which both exemplify and expand upon what Kenning calls his ‘Social Body Mind Mapping’ pedagogical technique.** A series selected for the exhibition outline a theory of artistic production where the maker’s conscious ‘idea’ or intention is displaced through the speculative tracing of the singular work’s ‘origin’ to multiple (physiological, psychological, relational, socio- economic, etc.) conditions of possibility. 

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Exhibiting artists

Dean Kenning


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