JOHN SUMMERS ‘All for Nothing’

‘All for Nothing’

5 – 28 June

All hail the new Brutalism!

Brutalism as an architectural movement was formed in response to the destruction of the second world war, an astringent, bootstrap determination to build amongst the bomb-sites while not forgetting the destruction … glorying not in that destructive power but in the stoical survival of a society that had seen the brink; building for a hard-won future that could no longer pretend to Modernism’s innocence.As we live in new ruins, as art also loses its innocence in self-consciousness and self-parody, John Summers brings us a new lease on the future.

The American-born sculptor has transformed the gallery space with new work made from found and re-configured objects, casts and moulds. His immersive physical response both to the gallery and the materials involved results in a crash-landing on a new moon, a blueprint for a new planet. Plaster forms that were (or will be again) possible figures are frozen in brightly lit cabinets while a new animal coalesces, explodes and re-assembles itself into a double mirrored Pieta in the carpeted pod-space of the gallery. Cocooned faces reminiscent of the frozen crew in Kubrick’s ’2001′, waiting for HAL to disconnect them or Bowman to draw them. ‘That’s a great likeness, Dave…’

We are at the exact moment in Pygmalion/Pinocchio that the blood begins to flow, just before the muscles of movement flex. The point in the theatre when, having taken your seat the house lights dim but people are still settling down to watch – what exactly? An experience as raw as it is fleeting…

The marble that Michelangelo’s ‘Dying Slave’ gives life to; the cabinet within which the magician slices the lady in half, are all here in the raw plaster Summers presents us with to form as we desire.


‘Gracieux fils de Pan ! Autour de ton front couronné de fleurettes et de baies tes yeux, des boules précieuses, remuent. Tachées de lies brunes, tes joues se creusent. Tes crocs luisent. Ta poitrine ressemble à une cithare, des tintements circulent dans tes bras blonds. Ton coeur bat dans ce ventre où dort le double sexe. Promène-toi, la nuit, en mouvant doucement cette cuisse, cette seconde cuisse et cette jambe de gauche.’

Arthur Rimbaud, from ‘Les Illuminations’, 1886