Kyle Percy reflects on his year as a Curatorial Assistant at Kettle’s Yard

31 August 2016

My year at Kettle’s Yard has provided me with a host of memorable and exiting experiences. I have been involved in all current curatorial projects in one way or another and have helped out in the other departments when needed.

One of my highlights was overseeing the installation of Beauty and Balance at the Fitzwilliam Museum. A collaborative display between Kettle’s Yard and the Fitzwilliam Museum, it contains modernist paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramics from both galleries collections.

Helping to install works by important, world-renowned artists such as Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, was an incredibly rewarding experience.

I have also helped to co-curate forthcoming exhibitions including one to be held at Wolfson College which, again, allowed me to work with works from the Kettle’s Yard collection, as well as write the interpretation which contextualises the exhibition, explains it’s theme and why the artists and works on display have been included.

Currently, as well as conducting research on certain artists in the Kettle’s Yard collection and writing detailed descriptions of their works, I am the lead curator on an upcoming display that will be included in this year’s Festival of Ideas. The display will explore and celebrate past exhibitions that have taken place at Kettle’s Yard. Working with the archival department and researching past Kettle’s Yard exhibitions has been both fascinating and enjoyable.

Other highlights have included visits to Frieze London and the London Art Fair and observing the curatorial process of Into Boundless Space I Leap – a mixed media exhibition installed at the Maxwell Centre, on the West Cambridge Site.

It was inspiring to see the time, effort and imagination that goes in to curating an exhibition in a non traditional gallery space and see how two disciplines (in this case art and science) can come together and benefit each other.

The show combined elements of film, photography, sculpture, sound and dance. I helped to install elements of the exhibition and was there to assist on it’s opening.

I have really enjoyed my time at Kettle’s Yard. It is easily the best job I have ever had and the best place I have ever worked. I have learned a great deal and have met a lot of fantastic people. In September, I will be moving back home to Liverpool and starting the next steps on my path to becoming a professional curator. Before starting my placement at Kettle’s Yard last year I had never been to Cambridge. Now, it is somewhere I have called home and somewhere I will always come back and visit. Hopefully for the reopening of Kettle’s Yard next year!

You can read more on Kyle’s time at Kettle’s Yard at: www.kettlesyard.co.uk

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