Campbell Patterson


12 Decmber - 27 February

Whether making short videos or sculptural objects, Campbell Patterson’s approach could be described as walking a fine line between stoic pragmatism and repetitive absurdity. The pragmatism is bound up with the consistent use of his own body and its interactions with his immediate environment as documented in his videos, such as Holding my Mother (ongoing), where he does just that, for as long as he can. And in the use of readily available materials such as Persil washing powder, which he transformed into a shallow, flat square placed on the gallery floor (at Newcall, 2009).

Following on from locally resourced materials Patterson’s pragmatism resurfaces in the clearly visible set of constraints or rules in which a work materialises. In the video Old clothes (2009) the action takes place as it does in all his videos, in front of a static camera, positioned this time slightly above the artist. The rules of the game are straightforward: dress in a set of old clothes (Converse sneakers, holey socks, ripped jeans, fibre-thin t shirt), walk in-frame and divest clothing into a public rubbish bin, leave nude and repeat.

The productive tension in his work comes to the fore not just in the slipway between defined parameters and ensuing absurdity, but the uncontrived manner in which he presents himself, (to the camera) and in his non-video works. Both are characterised by an economy of means and a certain factuality or a type of ‘realism’. In the case of the video works, there is no preamble, no narration, just human-performed loops of actions; DIY without the attitude. These are performed for the camera in a role that is firstly documentary and then intermediates on behalf of the artist for the audience.

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