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A perverse past: the persistence of objects
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posted on 21.02.2017by De Valle, Elyse
This research project was prompted by my case study of the neo-classical Australian marble sculptor and expert, Charles Francis Summers. I was introduced to Summers by a chance encounter with a man who has deep respect for Summers. This man has in his possession four objects that once belonged to Summers - a glass plate portrait, marble chisel, writing pen and journal. I commenced this project studying the objects of Summers as I imagine I would have done if l had access to my father's objects after he passed.
I studied the objects of Summers by remaking them using the slow labor-intensive methods - tapestry and carving marble. I researched Summers and began to form a narrative of his life that resonated with my flimsy memory of my father. My research began to focus on the life of Summers and following in his footsteps beyond making as he did, in marble. Summers' work and life was motivated by memorialising and marble. Summers sculpted as his father did, beginning at his father's studio in Rome. His narrative follows a series of marble projects between both Italy and Australia. Summers was one of the most notable sculptors in his time, however in a time that was difficult for sculptors, he and his work are now relatively unknown.
I follow significant successes and failures surrounding the work of Summers. I visit significant historical sites and work from his past and make as he did, creating my own inevitable failures. I culminate the focused narrative I construct of Summers and my own to contemplate monuments, mourning and memorialising.