26.04.22 / 19:00

Artist James Prevett and Curator Dr Jennifer Powell discuss James’ project - Things for Homes / Homes for Things that explores sculpture and objects in the home. The project began with the proposition of giving a sculpture to people for their home and through the process has expanded to include a series of radio programmes and a publication.

James and Jennifer talk about the project, post-war sculpture and its relationship to modern ideas of the ‘home’, as well as our changing attitudes to sculpture and its public reception.

Historically sculpture has had a direct relation to public space and institutions such as the state or the church. Where sculptures have been made for specific individuals these have been largely for wealthy individuals and a demonstration of social status. People rarely have sculpture in their homes.

Between 1946 and 1959 the Arts Council of Great Britain organised Sculpture in the Home - a series of exhibitions that presented sculptural works by contemporary sculptors, such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, within gallery spaces made to look like modern domestic interiors. These exhibitions sought to show how sculpture could be enjoyed in the home as part of everyday life.

Outside of this post war initiative it has been rare that sculpture is thought about in relation to the site of the everyday home or domestic space.  The traditional sites and contexts for sculpture have conditioned our understanding and reception of sculptural objects and how the sculptural is understood and defined.  


Since 2018 James Prevett has spent time with people in their homes, locally in Thamesmead and  in other parts of the country.  This has led to conversations with residents about sculpture and the social life of the objects we possess. Why is it that so few people have what we might call sculpture in their homes? Do our objects become domesticated? Does sculpture need a public? What is it that makes something sculpture or sculptural?

The project has seen James build relationships with local residents in Thamesmead, Helsinki and Birmingham, for whom he has subsequently made a sculpture for them to live with

Things for Homes / Homes for Things is funded by the Henry Moore Foundation and the Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland. The project will culminate with the launch of a book that documents the project and is published by TACO! In partnership with Rooftop Press (Helsinki). The book will be available later in 2022.

A series of broadcasts  - Conversation Pieces- made by James Prevett & Annie-May Demozay in 2021 with people who have received a sculpture as part of this project.


James Prevett makes things to gather around - objects, events, text, video that are often combined together as sculpture. He likes to work with other people and is interested in sculpture as means to explore the limits of minds and bodies, both personal and collective. James has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally including Finland, Thailand, Singapore, USA, Austria and Brazil. He was part of a team that represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2006. His project Parties for Public Sculpture (2017- Ongoing ) invites artists to make a ‘party’ for an existing public sculpture. In 2021 he was awarded  The Linnamo Prize, by the Olga and Vilho Linnamo Foundation. James lives and works in Helsinki, Finland where he is a Sculpture Lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts of Uniarts Helsinki.

Dr Jennifer Powell is Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Royal Academy. She previously worked as a Curator at Tate Britain and the V&A, and most recently Jennifer was Head of Collections, Exhibitions and Research at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge. Jennifer has lectured in the Department of History of Art at the University of Cambridge since 2013 where she teaches on modern and contemporary art and supervises postgraduates. She also lectures for Sotheby's Institute of Art on its exhibition modules. Jennifer has published. widely on modern and contemporary sculpture and specialises in British and French sculpture from c.1920-today, exhibition cultures in London post-1945 (the subject of her PhD) and national identity constructions. Her most recent edited book is Richard Pousette-Dart. Beginnings, Kettle's Yard, 2018.

Things for Homes #4 (Upright Motive), 2021, courtesy of the artist




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