John Henry Newton

Sun bleached stills from a number of films

Bankspace, Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, London

8th - 21st May 2015

As proposed by its name, the space was formerly a bank, the glass windows that were used to transact and communicate are still intact – albeit blocked by wooden panelling, shrouded in the shadows of UV film, scaffolding and fellow concrete. The building shows its scars well, with specific past times locatable through its architectural features. Similar to the city, it is a scattering accumulation of clues – as if the building could be read as a detective novel. Perhaps the murder a graffito scraped into a toilet door or a note dropped at the haste of an exit.

It is clear that the space is frequently used for the purpose of display, in an ever-changing arrangement of walls and plinths. Objects come and go as easily as an individual dreams: each object an investment in time, an anchor temporarily placed out of context. In Sun Bleached Stills from a Number of Films, Newton’s work acts as a mirror, attempting to create a display that is not just in the space but ‘of’ the space. Newton turns the gallery into a ‘black box recorder’, aiming to salvage its own history - via stories from the artist’s personal connection to it - masking the space in a story telling voice. This connection stems from his background as a student at the University, located in the adjacent building.  

Artist, B. Swindon, UK, 1988. Lives and works in London.

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