22 June 2017
Video of Jesse Wine, Sludgy Portrait of Himself
Wine was invited to create an immersive intervention in the museum’s historic spaces which drew together sound, museum artefacts, artworks from Kettle’s Yard’s collection as well as new sculptures by Wine, to tell the story of local folklore character Joseph Hempsell. Hempsell is said to have disappeared in mysterious circumstances in the watery Fenland landscape close to Cambridge, before returning as a ghostly apparition to haunt his friends. In the spirit of Jim Ede’s personal tours of the Kettle’s Yard house next door, where many of the objects selected by Wine would usually be viewed, visitors were guided from room to room by an audio tour (narrated by Wine himself and an actor) made in collaboration with music producer Daniel Woolhouse.
This film follows the tour from the perspective of the visitor, with the addition of some beautiful, up close footage of the works on display. Moving through the spaces you will encounter works by Jesse Wine, Ben Nicholson, Henri Gaudier-Brzeksa, Max Ernst and Alfred Wallis, as well as Barbara Hepworth’s Group of Three Magical Stones, which is presented in an attic space that Wine re-purposed as a church tower (stones which, we are told by the narrator, were left by ‘Barbara, the old bell ringer’).
Speaking with Assistant Curator Guy Haywood, Wine emphasises the importance of the setting for this project.
I think the great thing about this museum is that it provides an opportunity to fit artworks into a ‘scene’, and a lot of the time in art that is what artists are trying to generate – this sense of scene. Here it is overbearing in a way, because this is such a particular scene, the building is so old and has so much defined history, it is undeniable and you can’t get away from it. I think that is both really challenging but also really generous.
Wine’s tour explores the notion of storytelling spanning the whole of civilisation and the importance of relaying information from one generation to the next. Whether in the realms of visual art or local folk history, stories, ideas and objects flow through time and space, taking on new meaning as cultural and political landscapes shift around them. Through bringing together objects from the Museum of Cambridge with important works of modern art from Kettle’s Yard, Wine examines the relationship between the disciplines of art, craft, storytelling and entertainment, dismantling any sense of hierarchy between them.
Following the exhibition, The Fitzwilliam Museum acquired Jesse Wine’s As I am now one day will ye be I (2016) which is the first ceramic work that is seen in the film and was one of three new pieces made specially for the exhibition.
Jesse Wine was born in 1983 in Chester, UK. He now lives and works in New York.
Find out more by reading the full conversation between Jesse Wine and Guy Haywood, here.