Maureen Paley is pleased to present the seventh solo exhibition at the gallery by Kaye Donachie, I kept the memory for myself. The title of the exhibition is derived from a quote by German painter Gabriele Münter who was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). In 1957, shortly before she turned 80, Münter recalled a landscape painting she made half a century earlier. “I quickly sketched the picture that presented itself to me… it was like I woke up & had the sensation as if I were a bird that had sung its song. I didn’t tell anyone about this sensation, I am not a very talkative person anyway… I kept the memory for myself.” 1

When the Der Blaue Reiter group dispersed during World War I, Münter moved to Stockholm and over the next decade produced a group of portraits of women in various emotional states, with titles such as Future, Contemplative or Sick, in which the female figure is the bearer of a psychological message. Like Münter, Donachie questions how one can simultaneously convey a person’s outer appearance and inner experience. “Donachie’s paintings might be described as evocations, in which any particularity is lost, or to be more precise, subsumed and obscured like a palimpsest of associations and connections drawn from literature, biography and archival imagery.” 2

In this exhibition, Donachie merges Münter’s symbolism with the short fiction of British writer Virginia Woolf, The Lady in the Looking Glass: A Reflection, published in Harper’s in December 1929. The juxtaposition and conflict between perception and reality is the underlying theme in the story, which describes images reflected in a woman’s dressing room mirror, providing a glimpse of the furnishings of her life, but, pointedly, not allowing us a glance into the more private aspects of the female character.

Donachie is drawn to the cinematic stillness in Münter and Woolf’s work and the comparative sense of solitude, interiority, and disconnection. Her images condense ideas of the inside and outside with underlying moods being transferred through interluding objects and forms. Constructing an image of a moment in time that describes a different kind of reality is an incentive for Donachie’s new body of work.

Kaye Donachie (b. 1970, Glasgow, UK) lives and works in London, UK. Selected solo exhibitions include Song for the Last Act, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex, UK (2023); Into the Thousand Mirrors, Lismore Castle Arts, County Waterford, Ireland (2021); Like this. Before. Like waves, Morena di Luna, Hove, UK; Silent As Glass, Maureen Paley, London (2018); Under the clouds of her eyelids, Le Plateau Frac ile-de-France, Paris, France (2017) and Dearest…, The Fireplace Project, East Hampton, USA (2015).Donachie’s work is held in the collections of institutions including The British Council, London, UK; Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC), Paris, France; National Museum of Gdansk, Poland; University of Warwick Art Collection, UK; Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK. In 2023, a monograph of Kaye Donachie’s work titled Song for the Last Act was published alongside her exhibition at Pallant House Gallery.

1 Gabriele Münter quoted in Annegret Hobert, Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter: Letters and Reminiscences 1902–1914 (Munich and New York: Prestel, 1994)

2 Simon Martin, Footnotes in Time, printed in Kaye Donachie, Song for the Last Act (Pallant House Gallery, 2023)