7 February 2020
by Andrew Nairne OBE, Director of Kettle’s Yard
2019 was a great year for Kettle’s Yard – visitors could enjoy the work of four extraordinary women artists at the beginning of the year with the Julie Mehretu and Louise Bourgeois exhibitions in the galleries, Anthea Hamilton in the House and Rose Garrard in the Edlis Neeson Research Space. Then Oscar Murillo’s paintings, sculptures and drawings took over all the spaces in and around Kettle’s Yard – his major new exhibition spilling into the House and St Peter’s Church next door. In December Murillo became joint winner of the Turner Prize, nominated in part for his exhibition at Kettle’s Yard. Our two simultaneous exhibitions over the summer, ‘Artist: Unknown’ and ‘Jennifer Lee: the potters space’ offered much for visitors to encounter and experience – Jennifer Lee’s stunning pots rewarded long contemplation while ‘Artist: Unknown’, drawing from the collections of the University of Cambridge, revealed stories of astonishing skill and creativity over two millennia. A number of the objects were also the subject of a series of engaging podcasts by museum curators, still available to listen to on our website. ‘The Cambridge Show’ followed: celebrating the diverse talents of 22 artists based in and around Cambridge. Lastly, ‘Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan’, curated by Dr. Devika Singh, sought to explore, through the singular approaches of eleven artists, the ongoing impact of migration and displacement across South Asia and beyond.
It is now two years since we reopened Kettle’s Yard and nearly half a million people have visited, experiencing the new galleries and learning studio as well as the shop and café. Many visitors are new, and it is great to continue to meet so many people experiencing the House at Kettle’s Yard and our changing exhibitions and events for the first time.
We hope that our major exhibitions, planned for 2020, will encourage you to come back, or come for the first time. Opening on 15 February is ‘Linderism’, a retrospective of work in many media by the iconic artist Linder. Once again all the spaces at Kettle’s Yard will offer opportunities to see her work – including the café and the shop, where you can find the ‘House of Helen’ range, inspired by Helen Ede.
Opening in May is a reimagining of an exhibition made originally for New Art Exchange, Nottingham in 2017. ‘Untitled: art on the conditions of our time’ presents film, installation, photography, painting and drawing by 10 British African diaspora artists, including a number of specially commissioned works.
In the Summer, ‘Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery’, a collaboration with the Whitworth in Manchester, explores the extraordinary tradition of embroidery in Palestine from 1920 to the present, and how key moments in Palestine’s recent history and the role of women are revealed through beautifully crafted dresses and other artefacts.
To conclude the year, we are presenting, in collaboration with the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, a solo exhibition of the powerful and poetic work of Sutapa Biswas, including a new film, shot in India and Bristol.
All our exhibitions are accompanied by artists talks and events so that you can find out more or be inspired and be creative yourself. Many also have related new books, which reflect our role as part of the university: supporting research and offering new insights through exhibitions, events and publications into what art can do; how it can be relevant and powerful, diverse and inclusive, local and international.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Linder, Untitled, 1977, photomontage. 17.2 x 18.5cm, 6.8 x 7.3 ins
Larry Achiampong & David Blandy, Finding Fanon Part One, 2015, courtesy of Copperfield Gallery & Seventeen Gallery, London. Image: Claire Barrett
Dress from Hebron, 1900-1915, The Palestinian Heritage Museum/Dar al-Tifel al-Arabi, Jerusalem. © The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, Palestine
Sutapa Biswas, Synapse II: diptych, 1987-1992, courtesy of the artist