Known for her unsettling sculptural works, often crafted from an eclectic array of materials and techniques, Cathie Pilkington RA is the Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools. This latest project brings her uncanny, doll-like creations into the realm of the RA Schools’ Life Room, traditionally the setting for the practice of drawing from casts and models. Here, their simultaneous beauty and strangeness will be revealed in various stages of completion, accompanied by other bodily fragments and remnants of the creative process.
Characteristic of Pilkington’s practice, in this project the domestic register of toys and ornaments is entwined with the grand canon of sculpture. Inspiration is drawn from a series of small wax dancers by Edgar Degas that were cast only after his death, freezing their transient poses in permanent bronze. Pilkington explores viewers’ voyeuristic tendencies in the presence of these naturalistic figures by revelling in reimagined distortions of form and impossible anatomies.
Join a guided tour led by an RA Schools student, venturing into the hidden depths of the Academy, where you can stand amongst these disconcerting “dollies” and form your own answers to the questions they pose.
Access to this project is only possible on a tour, due to the location of the Life Room and the major renovation works taking place in preparation for our 250th anniversary. Tours last approximately 45 minutes and will be held twice a day, at 11am and 2pm.
We regret that there is no level access to the project due to extensive and ongoing building works to improve our site.