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Kettle, AM., Aubrey, K., 2015.

Thread as a chronicle of contemporary political and symbolic narrative

Output Type:Artefact
Venue:Craft Now, Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead;, Collect, Saatchi Gallery London ;VAS:T, Scottish Royal Academy of Art, Edinburgh;
URL:shipleyartgallery.org.uk

The research examines the use of thread as a narrative construct to chronicle two moments of linked personal and political drama in Greece between 2013- 2015. Two monumental artefacts were produced titled 'Golden Dawn' and 'The Dog Loukanikos and the Cat's Cradle', coinciding with the general elections in Greece and the UK with wider debate over European unity, austerity and authority. They were exhibited in eight international galleries; the Crafts Council's Collect at the Saatchi Gallery, London in 2014, 2015, the Scottish National Academy (funded as invited artist), the Rijswick Museum, Holland. 'Golden Dawn' was acquired by Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead, by the Northern Rock Foundation. Commentary in the Wall Street Journal USA (2014) identified its significance as the sole politically motivated craft commentary at Collect.

The artefacts use the symbolic and indexical notion of thread as an active agent for social/political change, (Corbett, Harraway), referencing the myth of Ariadne and her golden thread. This metaphorical and feminine rendering reflects on the dis-enfranchised in the political debates on territorialisation.

Kettle's distinct monumental scale develops the pre-eminent historical canon of British figural biographical work in fine dense thread and goldwork, which extends from the Bayeux Tapestry, and medieval Opus Anglicanum. This contemporary presentation utilises embroidery as an expressive drawing process, employing an original use of reverse stitching and collaborative cross-material practice, through the incorporation of glass and film. The research builds upon a Research Residency titled Reverie and Enchantment with (Dr Amanda Ravetz) funded by Australia National University, Canberra (2014). The inclusion of the artefacts in major international exhibitions, has positioned material practice central to current political and social discourse with these significantly cited (see reviews) in these debates.