About Renee So
Renee So works with ceramic and wool to create sculptures and knitted portraits, respectively. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Australia, this duality of heritage was addressed in So’s early work, beginning with knitted references to tourist Chinoiserie exports. So moved to London in 2005, beginning the work she is known for today—two-dimensional, large-scale knitted portraits likened variously to cartoons, ancient tapestries, and friezes. Using a combination of hand-knitting and a 1970s knitting machine, So creates characters—flâneurs, dandies, anarchists—embellished with clay pipes, pantaloons, top hats, and beards, and rendered in rigid and traditional poses. Upon delving into the history of European sculpture, So began to build ceramic busts modeled from German Bellarmine beer mugs. Like her knit portraits, these sculptures characterize fictional personas, borrowing from ancient ritual masks, military and aristocratic portraiture, and gladiator helmets.
Chinese, b. 1974, Hong Kong, China, based in London, United Kingdom