Based in a sincere desire to understand the past, as well as the conviction that documentary is only “a peculiar form of fiction,” Campbell’s films trouble the boundaries between the actual and the artful, record and interpretation, in historical narrative and media representation. Duncan Campbell includes three of Campbell’s films as well as new screen prints created for the walls adjacent to the museum’s Forum Gallery.
In the three films exhibited in Duncan Campbell, the artist combines archival material with his own footage, “authentic” documents with fictitious elements, to craft engaging portraits of three influential protagonists of the latter 20th century. Captivating in their specificity, their stories also resonate with current world events. Campbell’s most recent film, Arbeit (2011, 39 min.), takes as its subject Hans Tietmeyer, a German economist who played an important role in the centralization of the European financial system, which has lately caused profound turbulence in Union economies such as Ireland, Portugal, and Greece. Make It New John (2009, 50 min.) looks at troubled American automobile engineer and mogul John DeLorean and his iconic DMC-12 car, as well as the West Belfast plant where it was produced between 1981 and 1982. Bernadette (2008, 37 min.) focuses on Bernadette Devlin, the controversial Irish republican MP and civil rights activist who became an object of media fixation in the late 1960s.
The films play sequentially on a timed rotation within the museum’s Forum Gallery according to the schedule below. They appear in the following order: Bernadette (37 min.), Make It New John (50 min.), Arbeit (39 min.). The entire cycle is 2 hours, 6 minutes long.
Mondays–Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays:
7:15 p.m. Arbeit only
Duncan Campbell is the 68th installment of Carnegie Museum of Art’s Forum series. The exhibition is organized by Amanda Donnan, curatorial assistant for contemporary art.