Television, Jim Lambie’s fourth show at Sadie Coles HQ, comprises a series of experiments in the transformation and perception of space and energy. The viewers’ sightlines are first disrupted as Lambie applies the latest incarnation of The Strokes to the floor. One of Lambie’s vibrant vinyl tape pieces, The Strokes’ fluorescent curves and swirls navigate the gallery’s architecture, undulating over and around every cranny and groove. Quietly, a number of “Sonic Reducers”, concrete blocks containing record spines, sink into the floor. From the walls, collaged eyes peer out from between mosaiced fragments of mirror that hypnotically expand and refract the surroundings. The eyes, extracted from their original contexts and left to swim in patches of bright colours, stare in every direction. In another piece the unexpected prevails again as a chair reveals itself to be made out of metal belts. Lambie’s disparate sculptural objects combine, in exhibition to form a kind of super-installation whose elements are bound together by the floor’s pervasive patterns.
The process by which Lambie’s floor works are made is highly physical and labour intensive. Tellingly, he refers to these works as sculptures, equating them with his more conventionally sculptural pieces and suggesting that they serve in an equivalent way to occupy [or maybe ‘delineate’] and transform space. Lambie has discussed the relationship between the tape works and the solid objects they incorporate in terms of jazz ensemble, comparing the tape to the “baseline played by the drums and bass” and the pieces placed on top to the “guitar and vocals.” With Lambie, musical sources and inspirations are never hard to discern. His visual as well as verbal vocabulary often borrow from it, as when he describes the 1960s and ‘70s junk he uses in his work as having “a universal resonance”. Mixing up the histories of abstraction and Op Art, Lambie induces a beguiling sense of vertigo. Jonathan Jones has succinctly written of Lambie and his practice: ‘Here is an artist who apparently works in a frenzy of pure creativity, spewing out fun and beauty with energy, grace, and a strange, unfettered, totally unpretentious imagination. Without claiming any obvious social or political or indeed personal "meaning", and yet in ways and in materials that root his imagination naturally and easily in the everyday, Jim Lambie is a demiurge, a magician.’
Born in Glasgow in 1964, Lambie studied at the Glasgow School of Art and he continues to live and work in his hometown. He has exhibited worldwide with several solo exhibitions including ones in 2008 at the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art, Glasgow; the Hara Museum, Tokyo; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and in 2007 at the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. He has also participated in numerous group shows, including Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today, MOMA, New York, 2008 and Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century, New Museum, New York, 2007. In 2004, he participated in the 54th Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2004 and represented Scotland at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. Voidoid, the first comprehensive monograph on the artist was published in 2004 and Lambie was nomintated for The Turner Prize in 2005.