Visions of sublime destruction: Review of We are not in the least afraid of ruins, John Wilkinson exhibition at ArtWork Studios & Gallery, Northwich

Review of my exhibition at ArtWorks Studios and Gallery, Northwich

Penny Frances

we-are-not-in-the-least-afraid-of-ruins
We are not in the least afraid of ruins – title painting for the exhibition

If our fascination with civilisation’s ruins is hardly new as a subject for art (witness Ruin Lust currently at Tate Britain), John Wilkinson’s exhibition We are not in the least afraid of ruins presents an unusually political and contemporary vision of ruins in a post industrial landscape.

Wilkinson takes the title for his exhibition from Spanish anarchist Buenaventura Durruti’s quoted response to a journalist who said that if the anarchists won, all they would inherit was ruins. Durruti’s response was that the workers were used to ruins, it was they who built the factories and palaces of Spain; they could rebuild and were not in the least afraid of ruins. Wilkinson reflects that this also seems appropriate as a comment on the behaviour of our species throughout the ages: ‘From the slash and burn…

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