Kiaer has made a new work for this exhibition in response to the model of aesthetic experience played out at Kettle’s Yard. In Jim Ede’s house, high Modernism encounters genteel domesticity, and out of this arises a question about what an artwork is and does. Paintings are placed next to pebbles arranged on the mantelpiece and candlesticks and shells are brought into conversation with ancient artefacts. All this combines with the effects of light and use of space to blur the autonomy of objects and soften the more radical edges of 20th century avant-garde. These propositions relate to an experience of dwelling rather than some canon of art history, and serve to open out definitions of what an artwork is and does.
For Kiaer, the context of Kettle’s Yard brings to mind Wittgenstein’s resistance to rigid definitions and his alternative solution of proposing a family of resemblances. This implies that our understanding of an artwork can adapt and expand if we recognise its relations rather than ask it to fulfil certain predefined requirements. Using found materials, some domestic, some fragmentary, some that refuse definition, Kiaer offers us a constellation of objects that depend on each other for recognition to become part of the family.