Jennifer Taylor


Written by Eleanor Wallis
23 Saturday 23rd February 2008

Jennifer Taylor’s most recent sculptures depict chaotic messes of interlinking pipes, chains, and disposable objects coated in white paint and wax. Cancer cells, labyrinths and internal organs, are just some images that spring to mind when looking at these troubled objects. But who is Jennifer Taylor, how were these fantastic sculptures born and why?

The exciting 26 year-old sculptress is a RCA and Camberwell graduate and was in the press last year due to her extraordinary exhibition at the Wyer gallery last February. It was her first solo show which caught the attention of David Roberts, the collector extraordinaire and founder of OneOneOne, who bought one of her pieces for his central London gallery.

Untitled – Table installation at 'Arte Fiera' in Bologna
Taylor grew up in west Wales where her eccentric parents used to collect and hoard items from newspapers to pine cones. "Our house was a chaotic mass of stuff, with a number of rooms which were impossible to enter. It therefore wouldn’t take much to draw an arbitrary link between this and my installations". She spent time building labyrinths made from hay bails on her friend’s farm as a child, which is where she found her skill and passion for construction and creation.

Untitled – 'New Gallery Installation' at the Wyer Gallery, 2008

The work from the Wyer Gallery is a series of large sculptures that show bleached contraptions which seem to fester like mutated cancer cells, interlinking and breeding like a living organism - creating an atmosphere of claustrophobia and paranoia. The complex forms give off an unsettling air of malfunction and pending catastrophe. Taylor’s influence for these structures partly comes from the "irrational psychosis which underlies domesticity" and "the horror of overproduction and the relentless operations and output of factories, which are disturbingly mirrored by the persistent functions and needs of the human body."

Untitled – Table installation at the Royal College of Art, 2007
"In the past my installations have taken the form of more functional workshops with a kind of ‘mad professor’ undertone. Gradually these have been becoming more and more ludicrous and chaotic. It is almost as though they have now degenerated to a point of irreversible collapse, where all control and rational logic has been overtaken by the strength of a new system which has grown beyond itself in an alarming Frankenstein-esque manner."

'New Gallery Installation' at the Wyer Gallery, 2008

It is the angles, links and size which seem to stir an uneasy tension in the observer. Whether it is the fiction of the piece, creating its own reality within its space, or the disorganised, chaotic, mad professor type structures, it strikes a powerful chord.

Taylor is influenced by the iconography of horror films and much of her work is a tangible construction of the human fear of cancer and the deterioration of the human mind. This is a dormant fear in all of us, which makes her work so universally understood. Like in Paul McCarthy’s work, the innocent is transformed into the grotesque (see Blockhead below).

Paul McCarthy, Blockhead

So what can we expect from her next exhibition at Flowers East on the 7 July?

"At the moment, I think that scale will be a very important part of this exhibition. Recently, I have started making some tiny model installations with dolls house items and intricately crafted elements from Fimo. I think that the viewer will start here, looking inwards to a small space which communicates at the level of the mind. Then, as they progress through the exhibition, this position will be turned around to the point when their physical presence will become central and they might start to feel dwarfed and engulfed by scale."


Jennifer Taylor's work will be exhibited this summer at Flowers East - keep an eye on for updates.

Except where otherwise noted, contents of this article are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License

Don't Panic attempt to credit photographers and content owners wherever possible, however due to the sheer size and nature of the internet this is sometimes impractical or impossible. If you see any images on our site which you believe belong to yourself or another and we have incorrectly used it please let us know at and we will respond asap.