Jim Lambie, Zobop Colour, 1999
While Scotland is busy deciding its future, I find myself pondering the art of that country. It’s tricky. There are a lot of artists in Scotland. There are a lot of Scottish artists. The two groups overlap of course, but there draw things out as a venn diagram and the centre is less populated than I perhaps expected. As ever, of course, this may be largely down to my own ignorance; and, as regular readers will know, I’m easily confused.
The political debate in Scotland has been exciting. This is a debate driven in no small measure by passion and hope. The decision that is being made is a hard one and for many I suspect head and heart lie, somewhat uncomfortably, in different camps. It’s this sense of not knowing quite which way I’d jump if I found myself in similar circumstances that brings me, in a typically convoluted manner, to the work of Jim Lambie.
What I love about Lambie’s work is its energy. The colourful floor works have a real vibrancy that I enjoy. But it’s not just the colour and the way the lines engage with the shape of the space they inhabit that seems relevant here. It’s also the kinks in the line, sometimes in response to the space, sometimes seemingly more random, that intrigue me. The lines define the space. They are clear and purposeful but with signs of both minor uncertainty and sudden changes of direction. If the air of positivity of the work says ‘Yes!’, those little disruptions offset that and add an element of confusion. Maybe.