Elke Finkenauer

Cabaret Voltaire -Shadow of Fear by Neil Cooper
20th November 2020
Pleasuring Freud – The event on video
25th November 2020

Elke Finkenauer is a New Zealand/German artist based in Glasgow. She works in object-making, drawing, printmaking and text.  Finkenauer’s practice is motivated by behaviours people adopt to navigate systems and structures that contain them (such as markets, social situations, work environments, and relationships). Through texture, colour, humour and form her work conveys an (often-wordless) narrative about incongruities implicit within these systems. This is underpinned by matters of gender politics and the relationship between the said the unsaid. 

Her reference points are varied. She is interested in the narrative potential of objects, fiction as a vehicle for cultural critique, the metaphor-based language of financial markets, and the rush/ trap of consumption fuelled by languages of advertising and premised on a need for constant change and betterment.

‘Priscilla (75) & friends: a portrait’ borrows from ideas of trypophobia (a fear of closely clustered holes) and aposematism (warning colouration exhibited by animals who are hostile to predators) to refer to the aging process, and the refusal of skin to conform to cultural ideals. 

This work (which was developed during the 2018 Hospitalfield Summer Residency) is a sculptural equivalent of a group portrait. It is made from expiring fruit cast in Jesmonite, rubber objects cast from lotus pods and ad-hoc moulds made from fishnet tights and plastic bags, muslin, printed leatherette, carved and painted polystyrene, Perspex, gemstones, pebbles, paint, wood, sea sponge, nail polish, and a ceramic toe, staged atop a floating stand that takes the form of a liquid spill suspended in the moment of pouring over the edge of a table and pooling on the floor.


Elke Finkenauer graduated with a Master of Fine Art from Glasgow School of Art in 2015. In 2018/19 she was awarded the Hospitalfield Summer Residency and the Glasgow Art and Craft Maker Award.

Her recent works and exhibitions include ‘People like you and me’ – a selection of micro-narratives for ‘Quality Sleep Harmony Life!’ at Edinburgh Art Festival (2019), ‘Knock Knock’ – a series of screenprints and embossments exhibited at Glasgow Print Studio (2019), ‘Members Club’ – a site specific installation for ‘We’re not too big to care’ at Gus Fisher Gallery (2019), and a series of prints, text works, a textile book and soft sculpture for ‘Something to Remember’ exhibited at The Suter Gallery (2019). 

For the past 8 months Finkenauer has been drawing, describing, and making a colour study of each thing in her studio. She has documented 4,822 things so far.