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Duncan Campbell

Bernadette and Sigmar

Sunday, July 26, 2009 to Sunday, September 13, 2009

In 2009,  mumok presented Bernadette and Sigmar, two films by Duncan Campbell (*1972 in Dublin, lives in Glasgow), winner of the Baloise Art Prize 2008.

Bernadette (2008) is a portrait of the Northern Irish civil-rights activist Bernadette Devlin, who was elected to the British parliament in 1969 at the age of only 21, becoming its youngest ever MP. Campbell operates here with documentary material, which he sometimes uses as it is, but also sometimes underlays with a reflective, narrative voice.

In Sigmar (2008) Campbell mostly works with abstract details from the paintings of Sigmar Polke, accompanied by scraps of a fictional dialogue (in German) with the painter, the content of which cannot be grasped.

These apparently very different works are based on Campbell’s conviction that narration can only be subjective and that the documentary is only a "peculiar form of fiction." Yet history must be related, and stories told, in forms that also allow their inherent contradictions and discontinuities to be experienced. "I am striving in my films for what Samuel Beckett terms ‘a form that accommodates the mess’" (Duncan Campbell).

Curated by Eva Badura-Triska

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Catalogue to the Exhibition