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Sean Cummins: The Potato Eaters Discover Cold Fusion

In this exhibition artist Sean Cummins explored a found image, depicting a control room of an experimental nuclear reactor from 1963. Cummins used this image as a catalyst for an exhibition of paintings.

The exhibition title refers to both Van Gogh’s early masterpiece The Potato Eaters and the notion of cold fusion, a hypothetical type of nuclear reaction that occurs at room temperature.

This series of paintings makes an unusual connection between early modernist painting and the utopian aspirations of the creators of nuclear technology. There is a humorous juxtaposition between the agrarians depicted in The Potato Eaters and scientists operating the nuclear power station. A depiction of subsistence and the fiction of cold fusion and its limitless supply of energy.

Cummins knowingly played on paintings’ history and processes, as his images aspired to a collapse of space and time.