Keynote speech by Martin Kemp in the fantastic setting of the anatomical collections at the Gordon Museum.

Coloured Flesh Which Quivers

In 2017 I participated in the International Congress for Wax Modelling at the Gordon Museum in London. My presentation looked at how wax is used in the sculpture of Degas and Rosso to create emotive impact. It also included personal reflections on my own artwork and a poem about life and death.

HYPERTROPHY: Metamorphosis Through Pain and Narratives of Death

In 2016 I was invited to the Death, Art and Anatomy Conference, University of Winchester. I made a presentation about fighting and art. Using my artworks as prompts, I presented the following metaphors to explore the conference themes: 

  • The boxing ring as theatre

  • The body as boxing bag

  • Sculpture as stilled sensation

  • Pain as metamorphosis

Key texts from my research into martial arts

Secretan, Thierry; Going Into Darkness: Fantastic Coffins from Africa; Thames & Hudson; 1995

Chambers of Loss


In 2011 I participated in a roundtable discussion at the Materials of Mourning conference at the University of York. Presented a comparative analysis of a Victorian hearse and a Ghanaian coffin. The aims were as follows: 

  • To compare two ways of transporting the dead from different contexts.

  • To propose that both have ‘overwrought’ qualities which transcend cultural specificities.

  • To highlight the crucial role of the decorative in these objects.

  • To celebrate these methods of making as an art form in their own right.

© 2023 by SMALL BRAND. Proudly created with