The Style Sheet: In relation to your work ‘Shaved Ice’, my mind immediately jumps to Hong Kong’s verticality. We spend endless time in elevators, on escalators and up high in buildings here. When bringing it to Hong Kong, was this something that you thought about in particular?
Jim Lambie: The initial installation of ‘Shaved Ice’ did speak particularly to the verticality of a built space, a room in a gallery, or a home, or a building. However, I felt that with the open space of Pacific Place and Hong Kong’s geographical position as a main port harbor that the ‘anchors’ for the work — or plinths if you wish — could be adjusted by shaving a wedge off, thus creating a slanted profile, which may suggest a mast gently swaying while anchored in the harbour. Sat atop the floor work ‘The Strokes’ which visually rolls, moves and undulates much like the surface of water, I thought that these two works gave something more specific to the idea of Pacific Place. Even the name Pacific Place has a textured influence on how the work could be read.
Is the relationship between your work and the city in which it’s exhibited an important factor for you? Has there ever been a place that brought out an unexpected quality in your work?
I am always surprised by how much the work can respond to its location. It’s surprising how universal some objects are. A ladder for instance, a chair, a table. I always love to visit the flea markets and junk shops of a city, this is where I find the its real language — the stuff people have lived with or live with on a day-to-day basis.
To me, the show’s title, Spiral Scratch, suggests the interruption of a flow of movement. And yet your works, in particular The Strokes, have an all-encompassing, continual aspect to them. Can you share with us your thought process behind choosing the title?
The title comes from an EP vinyl record by a British band called the Buzzcocks. It’s the first ever self-released, self-funded without any help from a record company album released by a band. At that time this was very unique and revolutionary. The DIY nature and release of the EP was an exercise in the demystification of the record-making process. For example, its title was taken from the music being recorded literally as a spiral scratch on each side of the vinyl. Rather than suggesting an interruption of sorts, the Spiral Scratch on a vinyl record is a continuous flow from the outer edge to the centre.