James N. Hutchinson

R D Laing- Glasgow, The Centre of Reality
4th December 2020
Australian War Crimes : The Importance of Holding Oneself to Account 75 years after Nuremberg by Shannon Maree Torrens
16th December 2020

James N. Hutchinson is an artist based in Glasgow. He makes drawings, texts, commissioned objects and exhibitions, which are generated through a process he refers to as ‘Resorption’. In medicine, an example of resorption is the process by which the amount of calcium present in blood is regulated, through its release from – and subsequent re-absorption by – bones. In Hutchinson’s practice, artistic and curatorial production take the place of blood and bones, Resorption offering a means to establish where aspects of each become present in the other, where each is dependent on the other, and how – as a maker – he can anticipate, draw from, or fluctuate between spaces of production and mediation. Resorption is an ongoing process, operating in-time and appearing in the sensible realm in the form of glitches, where one plane of experience unexpectedly intrudes on another. 

For the Drouth edition focusing on the ‘civic’, Hutchinson is showing images from his project, Memento (2010–2017). Memento is a set of forty-one A4-sized pencil drawings, each representing a different statue in Memento Park, a “theme park” on the outskirts of Budapest. The park opened in 1993, gathering together the statues and plaques that had been placed on the city’s streets between 1947 and 1989, the years of Soviet rule. Hungary’s transition to independence was relatively peaceful, so aside from a 25m-high statue of Stalin (which was torn down) the monuments remained largely undamaged in the euphoria that came with the transferral of power. Some were removed from their sites by the new government, and some by individuals who worked at or near where the statues were located, and they were stored until the park was completed. Now on permanent display at Memento Park, they function primarily as a tourist attraction, but also for the purposes of education and nostalgia.

Hutchinson visited the park in 2010 and made extensive photographic documentation of the exhibits, which he used to produce the drawings. The drawn images appear to float in the middle of the page, free from locational context – they could be in the park, on the streets, or anywhere; they are simply themselves as images, movable and separable from each other. he made them intermittently between 2010 and 2016, and then sold them individually in 2017, such that the total revenue raised was exactly equal to the expenditure on the trip. The cost of the 2010 trip was £782.56, so the price of each drawing was £19.09.

Buyers were only permitted to purchase a single drawing from the set, and were not permitted to choose which one. The drawings were never exhibited, so the list of forty-one buyers was compiled based on who had visited his studio over that period of time, or who he had discussed the project with in various situations. When the list was complete, the drawings were posted around the world and are present in cities as far afield as Cape Town, Aukland, Philadelphia and Oslo, as well as being in numerous home around Glasgow. Due to their low cost and transportability, it is imagined that many have changed hands since they were sold or have been lost.