Head Case

October 2019

‘Head Case’

By John Strutton

14th October – 10th November 2019

"Head Case" is the title of John Strutton's installation at Robert Young Antiques, the fifth in a series of Contemporary Collaborations, showcasing works by emerging artists, exploring relationships between historic and modern works of art.

"It is clear that the utilitarian role of an object never completely justifies its form, that is to say the object always overflows the instrument. So it is possible to discover in every object an irrational residue.” - Roger Caillois.

The "irrational residue" that coats the object chosen for this project, a felt working cone c.1820, is a collection of memories and materials associated with Strutton’s father's working life in the hat industry. Wooden hat blocks, felt hoods and coloured pins all become protagonists in a narrative of the shifting value we place on utilitarian objects and manual labour. The object continually shifts from a source of childhood anxiety and ritualistic potential to a symbol for the difficulties caused by the decline in the manufacturing industries in Britain in the 80's and 90's and family struggles with dementia. For this project the installation within the window display is linked to a short film made in response to these associations. ( See Below)

John Strutton is an artist that has shown both nationally and internationally. He is currently Senior Tutor and Acting Head of the Painting Programme at the RCA in London. He received a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art at Middlesex University and an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art in 1998. He has recently exhibited and presented solo projects at DomoBaal, London (UK) 2017 and Worm, Rotterdam (NL) 2017 and in group exhibitions at Fold (lab) London (UK) 2019, Swedenborg House, London (UK) 2018, NN Contemporary (UK) 2017, De La Warr Pavilion (UK) 2015, and MK Gallery (UK) 2015. Previous exhibitions, performances, screenings and curated events have been presented at Extrapool (NL) 2014, MK Gallery (UK) 2013, Short Film broadcast as part of “Random Acts” Channel 4, 2011, Jyvaskylan Taidemuseo (FI) 2009, Kunsthalle Dusseldorf (DE) 2008, Highlanes Gallery (IE) 2008, Camden Arts Centre (UK) 2007, Tate Britain (UK) 2006, Cornerhouse Manchester (UK) 2002, Whitechapel Gallery (UK) 2001 and Ex-Teresa Arte Actual (MX) 1998.