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MARY-JANE DUFFY

Those things you don’t understand

We gather on the roof of the museum
to open a shed – actually two: one red

the other yellow – members of a family
of sheds by Ronnie van Hout.

I’ve met some of the others. There’s one
too small to stand in, a German

soldier cramped in the corner; another
that mumbles from a hole in its floor;

and now these new sheds, bright blocks
of industry squat on the Sculpture Court

– each one a version of Ronnie’s father’s.
We press the artist. ‘Let us in,’ we say,

‘go on.’ Mr van Hout has recently died,
and after years of wondering what his shed

contained, Ronnie now has the key. He opens
the yellow one and we go in with his sister.

Inside, the original contents are replicated
– the tools, the beer fridge, the bench.

I think about bolt holes, about making do.
‘That leadlight window would look great

in my house,’ his sister says. ‘No,’ he replies.
‘No you can’t have it. It’s art now.’

 
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