Jim Lambie: Voidoid

Having met Jim Lambie when living in Glasgow and working on the first independent presentation of art from Scotland at the Venice Biennale (I was project manager of Zenomap, curated by Francis McKee and Kay Pallister, in 2003), I was invited to edit the first comprehensive publication about the artist’s practice to date. This involved me delving into the archives of The Modern Institute in Glasgow, and subsequently Sadie Coles HQ in London, to get a sense of the image material available.

We are talking about a time when older work was only documented on 35 mm, while more recent work was captured on large-format slides – pre-digital. This provided a widely diverse spectrum of image quality, which, when wanting to present a comprehensive overview that really focuses on the work – and with Jim’s work being both highly visual and colourful – poses its challenges. Robert Johnston, himself trained as an artist, but then practising as a graphic designer (he had designed the identity and all printed material as well as the website for Zenomap, which is, alas, now defunct) had some interesting propositions, some of which ended up in the book, while others were rejected. The cover, hardback with a gloss varnish, does convey the vivacity that Jim’s work tends to embody. The discreetly glossy paper of the book’s interior certainly brings out the colours, and often reflective aspects of Jim’s work.

The images are accompanied by a text by Will Bradley – composed of texts appropriated from other writers, a trope Will used regularly – and Rob Tufnell – who had written about Jim’s work for a previous, small catalogue on the work Voidoid, which had had various incarnations in different space, most notably in Transmission Gallery, Glasgow. Published by The Modern Institute (Glasgow), Sadie Coles HQ (London), and Anton Kern Gallery (New York), in collaboration with Koenig Books, London, in 2004.

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