Jim Lambie

Day-glow ladders leading to nowhere in particular populate the ground floor of Fruitmarket gallery like beanstalks. It’s half ‘psychedelic forest’, half ‘fairground mirror maze’, as Lambie has replaced the gap in between each rung with reflective glass. Walking around the structures, you are surprised to catch sight of yourself, rather than the tangle of steps, poles and rungs that you expect to see.

Lambie’s geometric shapes are deliberately composed in a way that hits the audience with the punch of a coarse, treble-heavy guitar arpeggio. The show is rhythmic, musical and leaves you feeling truly energised.

Going upstairs to the second room does nothing to unscramble your brain; it feels more and more like you’ve taken some of Jack’s magic beans and climbed up the beanstalk. Vinyl tape in intense colours traces the outline of the room and extends across the floor, and rock-and-roll relics hang suspended from twine like stalactites. There are underpants covered in tinfoil and turned into a Mexican wrestling mask; there are polythene bags filled with paint bleeding onto the floor. The whole show feels caffeinated, or fuelled by narcotics. It has the energy of a graduate show despite being a retrospective, and you leave feeling exhilarated. Lambie’s show is pure punk.

‘Zobop’, the artist’s signature piece, is a high. Unique to each location, the piece is comprised of clashing strips of vinyl tape which map out the idiosyncrasies of a room. As you walk on the tape, you notice the way the floor curves slightly, or a particular indentation in a wall. For days after seeing the exhibition you might become obsessed with the peculiarities of every room you enter. As Lambie notes in the accompanying video to the exhibition, the piece can make a room both completely empty, and totally full at the same time. It was a little disappointing then to see that the gallery put other work in the space, which perhaps retracted from the ‘Zobop’s’ hypnotic potential.

Lambie’s geometric shapes are deliberately composed in a way that hits the audience with the punch of a coarse, treble-heavy guitar arpeggio. The show is rhythmic, musical and leaves you feeling truly energised. 

Reviews by Figgy Guyver

The Fruitmarket Gallery

Jim Lambie

★★★★
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★★★★
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Tell Me Your Secrets and I'll Shout Them Out

★★

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The Blurb

A solo exhibition of the work of Scottish artist Jim Lambie, who came to prominence in the mid-1990s with work that makes its magic from relatively humble materials: tinfoil, coat hangers, record sleeves, and, most famously, vinyl tape. This exhibition is the first to trace the development of Lambie’s exuberantly intelligent and visually arresting sculptural language from early sculptures like Stakka, Roadie, The Kid with the Replaceable Head, Ultra-Low and Zobop, to more recent work such as a spectacular new version of Shaved Ice, an installation of floor to ceiling, brightly coloured mirrored ladders.

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