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Curating begins at home

This week I have seen two exhibitions – one physical, one digital – on the theme of home.

The first, now showing at Kettle’s Yard, is drawn from the collection of Victor Skipp, historian and collector, who bequeathed his Suffolk estate to Kettle’s Yard on his death in 2010. Skipp’s house was filled with tribal masks, minimalist art, miniature shrines and aphorisms suspended from beams. Befitting an expert on the Industrial Revolution, Skipp’s home bridges the pre-modern and post-industrial worlds. His idiosyncratic arrangements generate spiralling associations and a mute wonder – there’s no slouching in front of the TV here.

Victor Skipp's Study

The Art of Keeping is a series of photographs taken by Paula Salischiker on the theme of hoarding. She visited a number of hoarders’ homes and documented what happens when throwing things away becomes psychologically impossible; how these houses suffer from a kind of cancer of objects.

Hoarder's shelves

Both these exhibitions are about strange homes: homes that reflect in very obvious ways the inner lives of their inhabitants. This got me thinking about the extent to which our homes reflect our inner selves, and how much we also ensure they conform to norms of social class, good taste and efficiency. The home is partly a place of freedom and disorder, partly a carefully curated stage.


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