The aim of my photo project “Tracing Mainie” is to show the traces that well-known Irish artist Mainie Jellett left behind in the house she grew up in. More than 60 years after her death, the painter is still remembered by the art world – and she has left her mark on the domestic environment she lived in. The insight into the private life of the artist – the house she grew up in, the studio she painted in, the artefacts and the every-day objects she left behind – is intended for the art-interested public and the remaining family of Jellett alike.
|Busts on the living room mantlepiece|
Jellett is not visible in the images (unless in photographs in photographs), but the things that belonged to her, which she used or which she painted/made are still in the house and give us glimpse of her life. “Tracing Mainie” is a long-term project that is intended to be continued beyond an upcoming exhibition in May 2011 and will hopefully result in a photography book that also contains captions and explanations.
The house which Jellett grew up in has been in family ownership for more than 120 years. Not much has been changed in the Georgian House and many artefacts that Jellett would have used and owned back in her day are still on view in the house. However, the family is not paying particular reverence to their ancestor. Sketchbooks, photos, art objects that Jellett produced and used are kept in use. By documenting the remaining objects, the project helps to give proper attention to Jellett’s possessions and surroundings, and may also serve as a reminder to the family to look after Jellett’s heritage.
|Mainie’s sketchbooks in a trunk|
On a personal level, the motivation for this project came from a curiosity about Jellett’s life and work. Moreover, being an occupant of Jellett’s house myself, I wanted to document my own surroundings which I “share” with Jellett. The latter is also an important aspect for following generations of Jellett descendants who may grow up in her house. As time progresses and changes are made, her remaining artefacts may get lost. In the photographs they will remain forever.