Jim Campbell: Indirect Imaging
- Neil Cooper
- 5 December 2014
American artist's exhibition proves as immersive as it is luminous
The light and a whole lot more besides pours out of the seven pieces in Chicago-born LED auteur Jim Campbell's first ever UK solo show. The moment you set foot into the DCA's foyer, a digital clock behind the reception desk displays the night and day of things rather than time itself. If this is a precision-perfect image of a retro-future relic, it's soporific fusion of low-lit high-tech isn't trying to be cute, but comes fused with an intelligent and quietly personal poetry.
Outside Gallery 1, 'Motion and Rest 5' (2002) may at first glance resemble a traffic sign, but is actually footage of a person walking on crutches. Inside, similar optical effects are writ ever larger. 'Explode View (Commuters)' (2011), the self-explanatory 'Home Movies 1040-3' (2011) and 'A Fire, A Freeway and A Walk' (1999-2000) capture bodies in rest and motion, en route to work, rest or play. 'Tilted Plane' (2011) does something similar with birds in flight, albeit on a grand scale as the viewer walks among a series of bulbs in sensory-destabilising formations.
For all its meditative, multi-hued expanse, much of it feels like a curtain-raising primer for the piece that takes up the whole of the venue's Gallery 2 space. 'Last Day in the Beginning of March' (2003) reflects on the final hours of Campbell's brother's life by tapping into a series of imagined memories through 26 synchronised bulbs beamed down from the ceiling. As each one pulses its circle of light at different speeds, they reflect a moment, a feeling or an anxiety immortalised on a series of name-plates lined around the dimmed walls. Out of the gloom comes a carefully choreographed set of sense memories that become both homage and elegy to the piece's subject.
Dundee Contemporary Arts, until Sun 25 Jan.