Eleanor Macnair

Eleanor Macnair was born 1977 in Nottingham, United Kingdom, and studied
English literature at the University of Bristol. She began the Photographs
Rendered in Play-Doh
as project on a whim in August 2013, and it quickly
reached an international audience. The project was first exhibited at
the Atlas Gallery in London in 2015, Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs in
Wiesbaden in 2016 and the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles in 2016.
Macnair has also created a series of portraits from the National Portrait
Gallery collections for a display in its bookshop gallery, as well as work
for the exhibitions Sofas, Birds and Knees at Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs
and Surrealists Rendered in Play-Doh at Elephant West. She also has
completed commissions for CULTURED, Cosmopolitan UK and Vogue
. Her work has been published in magazines and newspapers
like the Guardian, the New York Times Magzine, The Telegraph and Vogue
, and other media outlets like BBC News and HuffPost. She works in

She told:
"Sofas, Birds and Knees
is my strange journey through photographic
history. I gather image files from the internet like a Magpie, hoarding
them to recreate in play-doh at a future date. Since I began Photographs
Rendered in Play-Doh I have found myself attracted to photographs
containing certain objects, animals or body parts and patterns have

I wished to explore this further and the idea for Sofas, Birds
and Knees
evolved. The photographs are grouped not by genre nor maker
nor time-period, but by common and recurring themes. And indeed I am
interested in what is similar in these photographs, and what is different,
and above all - why? It is perhaps, I realised later, a poor man’s version of
Geoff Dyer’s ‘The Ongoing Moment’ - rendered in play-doh.

I am drawn to photographs with subjects sitting on sofas as these tend to
fall into two categories. These sofa pictures either show intimate portraits
of the subjects in their natural environment, deep in introspection, bored
and indulging in mundane activities, or formal portraits where the
photographer has placed the subject on the sofa. I have a simple love of
birds, and the reason why is probably best expressed by American author J.
D. Salinger:

“You are someone who took up birds in the first place because they fired
your imagination; they fascinated you because ‘they seemed of all created
beings the nearest to pure spirit - those little creatures with a normal
temperature of 37°

The knees series was born from the number of comments I get
when I post my works on the internet and viewers comment on the knobbly
knees - time and time again. There is a certain vulnerability in the human
figure, whether it be child or adult, with visible kneecaps. Perhaps we are
all born with the legs of a stork.

The exhibition does not claim to be an authority on sofas, birds and knees in
photographic history - rather a brief and eccentric tour - hopefully tempting
the viewer on to explore further. In fact, there are purposefully only few
knee pictures included, because photographic history, and revisions to the
canon of photographic history, especially in our digital age, is constantly in
flux. My future knee pictures have yet to be written."

[This solo show is specially curated with twenty brandnew works to create
the exhibition in Germany for the Wiesbaden based Kleinschmidt Fine Photo-
in the jubilee of twenty years of contemporary and modern classic

Text: Eleanor Macnair

Eyes Wide Shut

Elsie Altmann-Loos (1922) by Dora Kallmus

Giclée Print 2020 | Photograph rendered in Play-Doh

Auflage 5 + 2 AP | Format 40,6 x 32,9 cm (Blatt)

Verso Vermerk Datum + Stempel + Pinxit:

Signatur von Hand ELEANOR MACNAIR

Werk ohne Montage / Rahmen

Provenienz Künstler | Galerie

Verkaufspreis 2.500 € (D)


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