Mike Kelley

Michael ‘Mike’ Kelley, born 27th October 1954 and died 31st January 2012, was an American artist. His work involved found objects, textile banners, drawings, assemblage, collage, performance and video. He often worked collaboratively and had produced projects with artists Paul McCarthy, Tony Oursler and John Miller.

“One of the most influential American artists of the past quarter century and a pungent commentator on American class, popular culture and youthful rebellion.”


In The Uncanny, Kelley explores memory, recollection, horror and anxiety through the juxtaposition of a highly personal collection of objects with realist figurative sculpture. The central element of the exhibition consists of a substantial number of polychrome figurative sculptures that embody the feeling of the uncanny through their scale and use of colour, form and material. Kelley relates these to the idea of the ‘double’ – the disturbingly realistic representation of the human figure suspended between life and death. Non-art objects include a variety of historical and contemporary anatomical models, wax figures, animatronic puppets and mounted (stuffed) animals. This section is complemented by a large collection of black and white documentary photographs depicting figurative sculpture, including wax figures, Dada and Surrealist mannequins, film stills, newspaper clippings and cartoons, whose imagery and subject matter evoke the sense of the uncanny.

I understand from this why I was recommended him to research, as his dismembered limbs look like they’re along the same lines as the casts I’ve been making, and along the same lines as the small idea I’ve had since the beginning of this term of adding limbs to a plinth. I find his work quite fascinating, and I’ve had to research him quite a few times before so I am quite familiar with him. If I decide to continue with the small idea I had then I’ll definitely refer back to him in how to present my work in the exhibition.




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