May 2011, arsenal cinema

People Like Us: The Gossip of Colin Campbell

The Canadian artist Colin Campbell (1942 – 2001) used video as a cheap and accessible medium for telling stories. His tapes make up a collage of tall tales, rumors, conversations and daydreams. For Campbell, art was not something sublime but merely something that friends and lovers did together in 70s and 80s Toronto. Ironically, irreverently and ambiguously, and always attuned to the shifts of gender and changing objects of desire, Campbell's tapes show how identity is constructed and makes its way into society. Campbell used the medium of video to take part in gossip, the source of any art scene. The characters that he created and played himself entrust us with secrets, and work assiduously on the myths that they are surrounded by. He gossiped about his own social world and at the same time created a new one with fictional figures such as Art Star, the Woman from Malibu and Robin, who when their videos were released were loved or hated, becoming movingly real and immortal.


We are pleased to welcome alongside the curator Jon Davies, Lisa Steele, Colin Campbell's long-time partner and, with Kim Tomczak, the founder and director of Vtape that recently re-released his work. Combi-tickets can be bought for the four programs. (May 3 & 4)