While on a walk in woodlands outside Zurich after the first lockdown, John came across these beautiful boulders creating a small dam in a mountain stream. Looking at their mass and weight he re-imagined them without those typical characteristics, and in this fantasy museum setting he shows them floating like balloons for the viewer to wonder at. A privilege to be able to see the natural world again but here captured regardless of the season or setting.
An uprooted tree fallen in the stream is delicately balanced in the rear gallery, propped against the rear wall and just supported by the floor and the glass ceiling panel. Its weight and solidity plainly evident yet rendered safe by being indoors. A curious observer saunters past busy with the contents of her bag, oblivious to what awaits her in the next gallery. One of his favourite props, a chair, is placed so that the viewer can sit and wonder at these gigantic floating stones reminding us that a short interruption to our human time frame takes millenia to shape smooth rocks by water erosion alone. John’s visual and technical flair and eye for the surreal is ever present here and his presentation in holding nature within a confined stage set piece is both convincing and unnerving.
This is John’s comment on conspicuous consumerism. Regardless of wealth, location or climate holiday homes around the world have been left empty. Unused, perhaps not maintained and perhaps for some, having suffered a different sort of devastation. The consumerist and populist holiday dream of foreign flora as depicted by the cacti, a swimming pool and sun umbrellas, and a holiday rental car are re-interpreted here in chaos and abandonment but set in a museum setting for us to study in the way we would any other exhibit that show how we often take things for granted when out of context. It reminds us that whatever the material loss we may suffer, we are lucky even as ‘our’ familiar world pivoted away from us over twelve Covid months, and when previous holidays were an occurrence that some of us could take regularly without any thought.
John’s original image was a poolside photograph in France, the other items were from his photographic library that he assembled in his usual fastidious and exacting technical manner to recreate this second look at how we need to appreciate all that we take for granted.