Duncan Campbell, o Joan, no… 2006

o Joan, no… begins in darkness; abstract darkness; primordial darkness perhaps. As the film progresses the darkness is interrupted by light or a light. A random sequence of lights ensues – theatre lights, streetlights, household lights, the lit end of a cigarette. The camera greets these interruptions in the darkness with alarm, reticence, perplexity, curiosity. The accompanying voice emits a series of grunts, moans, sighs, laughs. Nothing happens.
Duncan Campbell, 2006

Duncan Campbell Joan No

Duncan Campbell
o Joan, no... 2006
Courtesy the artist

Conceived as the first chapter of a longer film, o Joan, no… 2006 promises much but never seems to really get started. Instead the viewer is privy to darkness and spots of light, to a voice-over in which nothing is said. Stripping away the conventions of portraying human existence on film, Duncan Campbell’s piece is a homage to the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett who described his own body of work as ‘a stain upon silence’. o Joan, no… refers in particular to Beckett’s play Play 1963, in which darkness is interrupted by a spotlight that picks out each actor in turn. o Joan, no… is different to previous works by Campbell which relied heavily upon found materials. For example, Falls Burns Malone Fiddles 2003 presents an overlayering of documentation to affect a disintegration of meaning. Archival footage depicting Belfast during the Troubles of the 1970s and 1980s is disrupted by superimposed graphs, diagrams and drawn black outlines. A voice-over in a near impenetrable Scottish accent accompanies the images, at times trying and failing to lip-synch to them. In contrast, adrift from any particular time or place, composed entirely from new footage and presenting minimal action or information, o Joan, no… seems in many ways the direct opposite to Falls Burns Malone Fiddles. However, its images of darkness and nothingness continue Campbell’s preoccupations with humanity’s oldest themes.

Duncan Campbell

Born 1972
Lives and works in Glasgow

Recent solo exhibitions include

The Unnamable, Lux at Lounge, London, 2006
Something in Nothing, TART Contemporary, San Francisco, 2005
Falls Burns Malone Fiddles, Galerie Luis Campaña, Cologne, 2004
Falls Burns Malone Fiddles, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, 2003

Group exhibitions include

Archaeology of Today?, The Kosova Art Gallery, Prishtina, 2006
Ein Zentrum in der Peripherie, Galerie-Peripherie, Sudhaus Tubingen, 2006
Art From Glasgow, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin, 2005
The Need to Document, Halle für Kunst, Lueneburg, 2005
Manifesta 5 European Biennial of Contemporary Art, San Sebastian, 2004