Polly Penrose / New works

In her latest bodies of work (not to be confused with her earlier series A Body of Work), Polly Penrose shifts fluidly between the absurd and the abstract, transforming her body into surreal sculptural fragments as she once again plays the part of both the photographer and the photographed.

Pool Party and I Was Never Good At Yoga subvert certain preconceived images of a primed, performative woman lounging poolside or positioned in an immaculate downward dog. Instead, Polly finds her own self-aware and awkward beauty in alternately contorted or sprawling poses that suggest a bemused weariness with the unrealistic expectations of modern women.

Meanwhile, in Paperwork she dissects her body into dissociated limbs that gracefully unite with paper forms to create a kind of human origami, as impermanently beautiful as the Japanese art form itself.


“In Pool Party, she stages deadpan tableaux with lilos in which she seems hopelessly – and hilariously – unable to function. In these works, Penrose says she aims to satirise perfect womanhood as portrayed in the media.”
—Via The Guardian, ‘Yogi bare: awkward poses from naked artist Polly Penrose’


“The new work is objects interacting with my body. Much more of a physical transaction. Tactile forms shaped together making a temporary sculpture from my body and everyday objects.”
—Polly Penrose, via Luxury London, ‘Exhibitions to see in May: Polly Penrose’s 10 Seconds’


“You could look at an M&S advert for lingerie and it’s more sexual than the pictures that I put up when you can see my nipple – we are so embroiled in highly sexualised pictures! We are blind to it now so that almost now a pure picture like mine is somehow quite shocking because it’s really honest.”
—Polly Penrose via Dazed, ‘How to photograph yourself naked’

“Having worked at Tim Walker’s studio during her MA, he speaks of her work as ‘sometimes humorous, sometimes melancholy, always bewitching’.”
—Via Refinery29, ‘6 Unmissable London Exhibitions Opening In May’

10 Seconds, Polly Penrose solo show, Hoxton Gallery, London, 2016 featuring a selection of works from the above series:

As featured on:

The Guardian

Polly Penrose A body of work Oxford June 2011


British Journal of Photography

AnOther Mag

Luxury London


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