Rose Finn-Kelcey first came to prominence in the early 1970s as a central figure in the emerging communities of performance and Feminist art in the UK.
Her artistic oeuvre is characterised by unpredictability, with each work changing dramatically from one to the next. The complex thinking embodied in her work incorporates themes of power, dilemmas of mastery, the myth of the artist, the gaining of a voice, the deceptions of value, the nature of collaboration, the surrogate performer, spirituality, longing and death.
From 1975–1985 Finn-Kelcey's work was almost entirely performance based, including works such as ‘One for Sorrow Two for Joy’ (Acme Gallery, London 1976) and ‘The Boilermaker’s Assistant’ (London Calling, 1978).
In 1980 she introduced the idea of a 'vacated performance' in an effort to express a desire to be both inside and yet objectively outside a work, as epitomised by ‘Mind the Gap’, (ICA, London, 1980), ‘Glory’ - a compelling reaction to the Falklands War (Serpentine Gallery, 1983) and ‘Black and Blue’ (Matt's Gallery, London, 1984). The late 1980s saw a move towards installation-based work with a performative element, notably, ‘Bureau de Change’ (1987) a response to the auction of Van Gogh's ‘Sunflowers’, a striking visual polemic against dehumanised values as well as a complex meditation on art and creativity.
In the early 90s Finn-Kelcey challenged the material and spiritual limits of the built environment with works such as her room sized block of steam; held in place by cold air curtains (The Chisenhale Gallery, London, 1992 and Saatchi Gallery, London, 1993).
Rose Finn-Kelcey's work can be found in national and international collections, most notably within the Tate Gallery Collection, The Arts Council Collection, The British Council Collection, The Victoria & Albert Collection, the Welkunst Foundation and the Bernard Starkman Collection.
Rose Finn-Kelcey was born in Northampton in 1945. She studied at Ravensbourne College of Art and Design, and at Chelsea School of Art, London. She lived and worked in London from 1968 until her death in 2014.