Pulchinella, 1988 was Kettle's first large scale work and represents a significant moment in her practice. It references "Polichinelle", the 1962 Edith Piaf song from album Les Amants De Teruel; "Polichinelle"and in particular the lyrics in translation (see below).
The dense stitching covers the entire surface as was typical of Kettle’s early work and this work signifies a step change in the confidence in her practice and in herself.
These works relate to the Three Caryatids (1989-91) by Kettle shown in Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles at Two Temple Place, London in 2020.
The Six Nymphs were shown at 1988 Tex-styles, Smiths Gallery, Covent Garden, London and won the Taittinger prize.
Pull the strings
of the puppet,
for I might well
cut myself free
from the invisible threads
that bind me to you.
As I break the spell
I recover a soul.
I am a woman again.
I am myself again.
Six Blue Nymphs, 1988Thread on linen200 x 250 cm Approx.
Six works each 66 x 58 cm, (96 x 79 x 6 cm framed)
Can be hung in any arrangement.
Alice Kettle, Six Blue Nymphs Number 1, 1988
Alice Kettle, Six Blue Nymphs Number 2, 1988
Alice Kettle, Six Blue Nymphs Number 6, 1988