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Stanley/Barker : Karen Knorr : Country Life


Karen Knorr will be launching a new publication, Country Life published by Stanley/Barker at the upcoming Photo London, May 16–19 2024. Country Life explores attitudes within the British aristocracy in the 1990s through image and text. Knorr’s refined images were taken in London, Scotland and Oxfordshire in domestic interiors and gardens laid out according to the picturesque canons of the eighteenth century. The work was originally commissioned by The Photographers’ Gallery for a group exhibit entitled Britain in 1984.

“Although I was asked to document changes that new technologies had created, I chose instead to refer to the attitudes and activities of the British landed gentry, these were aspects of Britain in 1984 that had changed little. Country Life, like my earlier works Belgravia (1979–81) and Gentlemen (1981–83), parodies class attitudes, the received ideas of the 1980s under Thatcherism (Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister 1979–1990). This series differs, in that I appropriate the still life and landscape genres to plot the traces of the leisure class. Nature, like the objects photographed, is property. Objects inside and outside serve to commemorate past family histories. Looking at Country Life today the development of labour’s classless society is still a project to be striven for. Social networks based on favour, privilege and accidents of birth continue despite new technologies and progress.” – Karen Knorr


Karen Knorr (USA / UK) was born in Germany and grew up in San Juan Puerto Rico in the 1960s. She has been a Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts since 2010. She lives and works in London, UK since 1976. Her studio is based in London. She is on the steering committee of Fast Forward Women in Photography at University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey, UK. Karen Knorr’s photography explores cultural heritage and its ideological underpinnings. Questions concerning post-colonialism and its relationship to aesthetics have permeated her photographic work since the 1980’s. Karen Knorr won the V International Photography Pilar Citoler Prize in 2010. She has been nominated for the Deutsche Börse in 2011 and 2012 and Prix Pictet in 2012 and 2018. Karen Knorr’s work is included in collections worldwide including Moma (San Francisco), The Museum of Fine Art (Houston), Museum of Art and Photography (Bangalore), Tate Museum (London) and Pompidou Museum (Paris).


Karen Knorr : Country Life

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