Jim Lambie

Concerto of Colour

Music is at the core of Scottish artist Jim Lambie’s colour‑drenched work.

By Peter Hill JUL 2015

Jim Lambie had the coolest of parents. Back in the early 1970s, his father operated Scotland’s first mobile disco. “What was great was having lots and lots of vinyl to play on our ‘radiogram’,” he tells me from Glasgow, on the eve of a trip to Australia to exhibit his immersive, multi-coloured installations at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

“You could stack them five high and just let them play,” he continues. “Spinning Wheel Mobile Disco it was called, after the old Blood, Sweat and Tears track.”

By all accounts, the Lambie household was like a mini psychedelic Tardis. “I loved it when my parents would bring the disco lights from the van into the front room and blast T.Rex or Sweet or Bowie on the record player. And the go-go girls would practice their dance moves right there in our living room. I remember the suede hot pants they wore, with flashing lights attached to fringed belts, run from a clip-on battery.” Another formative experience was seeing an early strobe light in action. All this visual eye candy has surely seeped into his practice.

I last saw Lambie shooting the breeze with Nathan Coley and Douglas Gordon in the foyer of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) during the 2014 Biennale of Sydney – Juliana Engberg’s You Imagine What You Desire. Glasgow-based artists appeared to have taken over much of the event (I lost count after seven). Lambie’s installation on the ground floor made you want to dance on it as soon ... Subscribe to read this article in full

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QAGOMA Metro Bendigo Art Gallery ACCA MelbourneArt Gallery of New South WalesMuseum of Brisbane