Jim Campbell: Home Movies
May 31, 2008 - August 3, 2008
The work of Jim Campbell manifests a poetics of the digital, upsetting common assumptions about the relationship between technology and humanity, “information” and thought. This San Francisco–based artist employs conventionally chilly media to investigate processes of perception and recollection in ways that are deeply, warmly humane.
Campbell’s mural-scale installation in Gallery 2 is an iteration in the series Home Movies, which the artist has been developing since 2006. An array of tiny LED lights is strung from ceiling to floor along the gallery’s rear wall, projecting imagery from found amateur films—family vacations, passing landscapes—processed nearly to the point of illegibility. In its physical form, the piece resembles a beaded curtain of light, a dangling row of filmstrips, a pixel grid writ large. Seen through this grid, straining the limits of resolution, the moving images on the wall create a shifting sequence of suggestions. Simultaneously revealing and obscuring the private moments of anonymous others, these abstracted yet archetypal forms become liquid reflections on the pool of memory.
The Berkeley Art Museum purchased Home Movies this year as part of an ongoing initiative to bolster the collection’s representation of artists whose work has been presented in the MATRIX Program. Recognizing the museum’s commitment, Campbell has also generously donated his installation work Last Day in the Beginning of March, which was presented in his MATRIX exhibition Memory Array in 2003.
Born in Chicago in 1956, Jim Campbell received degrees in electronic engineering and mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work has been exhibited extensively and is in the collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Metropolitan Museum; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. An additional work from the Home Movies series is featured in the groundbreaking exhibition California Video at the Getty Center in Los Angeles through June 8.
Support for this exhibition has been provided by Joachim and Nancy Bechtle.