EXHIBITION REVIEW: JIMMIE DURHAM: VARIOUS ITEMS AND COMPLAINTS

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This retrospective of the American artist, writer, poet, and political activist, Jimmie Durham includes some new works and installations alongside a large collection of his early works, which have not been exhibited in the UK before. Jimmie Durham has a multi-dimensional practice in which he explores western culture, national identities, and colonialism, he displays his views about these subjects through different objects and meaning which creates a humorous approach of what in his view constructs our world.

Jimmie Durham was born in the USA in 1940, and has been making different multi media artworks for the past 50 years. He also took a main role in the American Indian Movement in the 1970s. Various Items and Complaints is Durham’s first exhibition in England since 1992 and by looking at the works on display, it is clear that Durham has retired from political campaigning, but continues to practise political activism through his artworks.
In the short film The Pursuit of Happiness (2002), the main theme in the video is mocking the entire art system. An American artist is shown collecting rubbish from the pavements then the same person is shown making collages in a caravan. Then the film moves on to an exhibition of the artist’s works and finally it cuts to a film where the artist is burning his caravan and then shown to be moving to France to live a ‘bon vivant’.

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Go Back, You Have Another Chance (2000/2015), is a revolving door that spins the gallery visitors around before placing them back into the same part of the gallery. The title is written as an instruction to the user, a message for them to return to the gallery and attempt to see the works again.

The exhibition is a curious collection of art works, which somehow all connects even though there is lots of different media.

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