Jane Edden investigates the interchanges between nature and culture; her work is concerned with the way we perceive nature, particularly birds and how we represent and reference them. During her time in residence at BCA she focused on the birds that she found close to the gallery, primarily pigeons and swans. Although her work is inspired by and takes its imagery directly from birds it tells us more about human behaviour than it does about birds and this is her intention. She is interested in our preoccupation with flight, represented through myth and legend for centuries. It is her belief that the dream of winged flight is persistent in human imagination and at some point in our lives she is certain we have all entertained the idea and played with the thoughts of freedom this ability would give us.
A coat for Icarus (film projection) explored the desire for unbridled human flight. The dream of being ‘as free as a bird’. The fluid anthropomorphic form is that of a coat or jacket morphing into what might be a heart, constantly pumping, breathing and changing. The steady synchronous soundtrack of a human heartbeat and the symmetrical, almost hypnotising image is locked to the centre of the screen. This creates a visual abstracted metaphor for the human body, which eloquently expresses the muscular effort of flight.
Pigeonhole (Installation of postcards). The inspiration for this work started with a visit Edden made to the 16th century dovecote at Willington, just outside Bedford. Her subsequent collection of bird words were released into the postal system by the artist herself or willing helpers who took them on their travels. Slowly, the cards completed their journeys, returning to the gallery like homing pigeons. These cards record a duality: forming a record of bird sayings, how we use bird descriptions to describe attributes and actions of humans and also how we, like pigeons, co-habit and inhabit almost identical areas around the earth.