Jim Lambie’s playful and imaginative work in collage, installation and sculpture creates an immediate visual impact and shows his interest in the psychology of space and colour. Using materials such as glitter, paint, mirror and vinyl tape, he assembles, alters and embellishes rooms and ordinary objects such as chairs, clothes, doors and posters. Lambie’s work reflects his everyday surroundings and makes sharp-eyed references to aspects of contemporary society whilst letting us get close to his working processes and experiments carried out in his studio.
Zobop (1998) is one of his best-known works. It has been made for numerous displays and exists in many different versions. Each one is unique in its response to the architectural footprint of a given area. It consists of different widths of colour or monochrome adhesive vinyl tape, which is applied directly to a floor. Building from an initial line that winds round the very edge of the room, Zobop creates an optical effect of movement and a sense of melting or merging space. These works fill a room but also provide a surface for Lambie’s sculpture to stand on.
Often the readily available materials that Lambie uses for his sculptures have formal qualities in common such as their colour or finish and frequently they directly relate to our everyday lives as objects that we sit on, wear or hold. Plaza consists of plastic bags that are pinned to a wall in a line, filled with paint and burst open. Like Lambie's Zobop floors, the work seems to hold an energy that is implicit in the action and rhythm undertaken to create it: the process of cutting each bag to release the paint and allow it to spill onto the wall and floor.
Shaved Ice (2012) is a recent example of an installation that reflects Lambie’s interest in responding to the unique character and architecture of the spaces where he exhibits. It consists of brightly coloured ladders that run from floor to ceiling. They have mirrored inserts between their steps, which accentuate and reflect both their surroundings and the visitors negotiating the room.