Inventory: Invisible Companion by Whitney McVeigh

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View of Kettle’s Yard from the 13th Century south door of St Peter’s Church, Cambridge

This is a powerful installation located in the prepossessing St Peter’s Church: an artwork in the smallest church in Cambridge which really packs a punch.

The installation, specially made for the location, is a painstaking and diverse array of objects collected by the artist on her travels through life. The white armchair relocated from Jim Ede’s house next door, which you are invited to sit in, engenders a strange contemplation between the transcendent and the quotidian. Sat facing West, the direction of the setting sun with Ancient Egyptian connections to death and the afterlife, I was struck by the pervasive presence of past lives emanating from the objects. The tiny shoes from a child, retaining the shape and essence of the wearer, were particularly evocative of an absent soul. The large open trunk, reminiscent of a coffin, left me guessing at the untold stories and life histories that it contained. It brought to mind the Nicholas Serota quote about works of art and objects having a physical presence and energy which has the potential to change the surrounding space.

This installation clearly blurs the boundaries between the collector, the curator and the artist: a theme which has been reocurring lately with History is Now at the Hayward Gallery and Magnificent Obsessions at the Barbican. This was an artist I had not encountered before and I desperately longed to be able to rifle through the papers, explore her body drawings, read the books and gather more knowledge of the objects to find out a little bit more about the maker of this intriguing work. You have until 21st June 2015 to see it!

More information about St Peter’s Church here

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