Saturday, 19 January 2013

Talking Vessels

Curatorial assistant Guy showed me and three artists around Kettles Yard. Guy was charming and helpful and opened lots of drawers that had been left uncleared since Helen and Jim Ede departed in 1966. [redacted by request]

The drawers were filled with bags of 'different sized bags', candle stubs, a tiny Union Jack, a paper bag from Zurich airport, Christmas cards, letters, hooks and lots of instructions from Jim Ede, in his beautiful laconic handwriting. The notes were about things not to be put up unless next to a specific thing, mostly instructions, it seemed to how things would look best, I'm not sure if their instructions to himself or to others.

My father's omnivorous tastes and peccadilloes have left me receptive to ideas of hidden family intrigues and, as with every family house, Kettle's Yard holds information in its objects that hint at these.

There is a  hatch in Helen Ede's bedroom at floorboard level which she would open to talk to Jim, I guess while they were in bed, he in the bed in the room below. Her voice went into the vent and out through his alcove shelves with porcelain on. A female talking cubbyhole.

This reminded me of my relationship with my great companion Jamie. Pretty sexless in the end I slept in my bed covered in crap with a mouse nesting in my grandmothers kid gloves. He had a single bed directly above me on the upper floor and we used to communicate by Jamie dropping pieces of paper down the gap in the floorboards. He'd also dangle love/sorry/shall we do this? Notes down on reels of string, especially if other people were in the studio (we lived in an unconverted Victorian school house that was also a studio). At night we would talk to one another up through the radiator vent.

Helen Ede's bedroom was perhaps the only place (with the kitchen? Which is now used by staff and not on show) where she could have her things, domestic objects and possibly even mess. Apparently she may have locked her door at night and when visitors came over. She stayed in her bedroom and didn't often come out.

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