Artist biography

English sculptor. She studied at the Camberwell School of Art (1980–83) and Goldsmiths' College (1985–7). From the mid-1980s she made exquisite and intricate sculptures, at once seductive and grotesquely threatening. In the late 1980s her work carried an atmosphere of erotic restraint. The latent sexual threat of her objects was often underscored in the early 1990s by provocative titles such as Defying Death I Ran Away to the Fucking Circus (1991; see 1997 exh. cat., p. 71), and Once Upon a Fuck (1992; see 1997 exh. cat., p. 70). From 1994 her work also became larger, more pictorial, often wall-mounted. Rocking the Boat before the Storm (glass, paper, steel, leather, ribbon and enamel, seven parts, 1994) commissioned by Peter Gabriel for the CD-ROM Eve, appeared as a screen made with an obsessive geometric repetition. It evokes various decorative sources, but has also a ritualistic aspect, underlining the sense of anxiety present in much of her work. This anxiety was a strong element of her exhibition as part of the 1998 Turner Prize shortlist. Themes of eroticism and death were also developed in small wall-mounted works, often made in sets. Trust Your Sanity to No-one (brass, copper, leather, chalk, glass and diamante, nine parts, 1994; New York, priv. col., see 1997 exh. cat., pp. 60–61), showed a large green jewel set in a fleshy mass, stretched and battened like a trophy to a sharp metal frame.

Cathy De Monchaux, (exh. cat., essays L. Buck, M. Gisbourne and S. Craddock, London, Whitechapel A. G., 1997)
Turner Prize 1998 (exh. cat. by V. Button, London, Tate, 1998)

10 December 2000

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