Artists Space

Duncan Campbell:
Make It New John

March 9 – May 1, 2010

The DMC12 story intersects temptingly with the present in unquantifiable ways: the story of a collapsing car company chimes with the recent meltdown of the car industry in the US, for instance. These are avenues for speculative thought but they remain just that, seedbeds for argument. Indeed, seeing the past through the prism of the present might only warp it further. But in our moment, the past is never allowed to be just the past.
—Martin Herbert

A poster showing a silver car driving through a selection of press clippings from newspapers on a blue background. At the top, there is white text reading "PRESENTING AMERICA
Duncan Campbell: Make it new John. Installation view, Artists Space, 2010. Photo: Daniel Pérez. [A poster showing a silver car driving through a selection of press clippings from newspapers on a blue background. At the top, there is white text reading "PRESENTING AMERICA'S MOST TALKED ABOUT CAR!" At the bottom, white text reads "DELOREAN".]

Opening reception
Saturday, March 6, 6 - 8 pm

Make it new John (2009) tells the story of the legendary DeLorean car, its creator John DeLorean and the workers of the Belfast-based car plant who built it. Campbell’s film deftly contrasts the DeLorean dream with its spectacular downfall during a critical period in Northern Ireland's history, and the canonization of the car – the DMC12 – as a symbol of the American myth of mobility.

The son of an immigrant Romanian foundry worker, John DeLorean possessed a talent for engineering that took him to the top of Chevrolet, General Motors. Following his resignation from GM in 1973, he persuaded the British Labour Government to back his new venture – building a factory in Dunmurry/Belfast to produce a new sports car. Almost immediately beset by financial difficulties and allegations of embezzlement, DeLorean's attempts to keep the factory open became increasingly desperate, eventually leading to his arrest by the FBI. The factory—which employed 2500 workers— closed in 1982 under the Thatcher government, having produced just over 9000 cars.

As with Campbell’s earlier works such as Bernadette (2008) and Falls Burns Malone Fiddles (2003), Make it new John (2009) fuses a documentary aesthetic with fictive moments, using existing archival news and documentary footage from the 1980s as well as new passages of 16mm film shot by Campbell, imagining a conversation between DeLorean factory workers.

I think that documentary relies on shorthand and parable as much as any work of fiction.
—Duncan Campbell

Duncan Campbell (b. 1972, Dublin, Ireland) lives and works in Glasgow. In 2008 Campbell was the recipient of the Baloise Art Prize and a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award. Recent solo exhibitions include Tramway, Glasgow (2010); Chisenhale, London; Kunstverein München; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna and The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (all 2009). His work has been featured in Art Now, Tate Britain, London (2006) and Manifesta 5.

March 12, 2010

Duncan Campbell in conversation with Thomas Beard
Conversation
7:30pm

April 3, 2010

Shellshock Rock
Film Screening
7:30pm

Two side-by-side magazine advertisements mounted on a white wall. On the left, a portrait-oriented multicolored image is titled, "One out of every 100 new business succeeds. Here
Duncan Campbell: Make it new John. Installation view, Artists Space, 2010. Photo: Daniel Pérez. [Two side-by-side magazine advertisements mounted on a white wall. On the left, a portrait-oriented multicolored image is titled, "One out of every 100 new business succeeds. Here's to those who take the odds." There is a short written blurb below. On the right, a landscape-oriented spread shows an image of a car with its doors open on the left page. On the right page, there is a title, "The Delorean. Live the dream" with an additional image of a car and a single column of text.]
Six orange papers arranged in a rectangle are painted with the letters "DMC SIT-IN" in black text.
Duncan Campbell: Make it new John. Installation view, Artists Space, 2010. Photo: Daniel Pérez. [Six orange papers arranged in a rectangle are painted with the letters "DMC SIT-IN" in black text.]
A projected image on a standing screen shows a bumper-to-bumper view of two shiny silver cars with a third car in the background.
Duncan Campbell: Make it new John. Installation view, Artists Space, 2010. Photo: Daniel Pérez. [A projected image on a standing screen shows a bumper-to-bumper view of two shiny silver cars with a third car in the background.]
A large piece of paper secured to a piece of cardboard leaning against a wall, slightly scuffed and unfurling from the cardboard. Handwritten, red block text on the paper reads, "HOW MANY MORE?"
Duncan Campbell: Make it new John. Installation view, Artists Space, 2010. Photo: Daniel Pérez. [A large piece of paper secured to a piece of cardboard leaning against a wall, slightly scuffed and unfurling from the cardboard. Handwritten, red block text on the paper reads, "HOW MANY MORE?"]
A black and white image of a man working intently on a machine is projected on a standing screen in an open room.
Duncan Campbell: Make it new John. Installation view, Artists Space, 2010. Photo: Daniel Pérez. [A black and white image of a man working intently on a machine is projected on a standing screen in an open room.]
Assorted Delorean paraphernalia displayed on a white background, including several images of cars and a binder filled with a user manual.
Duncan Campbell: Make it new John. Installation view, Artists Space, 2010. Photo: Daniel Pérez. [Assorted Delorean paraphernalia displayed on a white background, including several images of cars and a binder filled with a user manual.]
A large room with a wooden table in the foreground. A standing screen is centered between two white poles, showing a projected image of a white sign with handwritten text reading "DELOREAN DREAM WORKERS NIGHTMARE."
Duncan Campbell: Make it new John. Installation view, Artists Space, 2010. Photo: Daniel Pérez. [A large room with a wooden table in the foreground. A standing screen is centered between two white poles, showing a projected image of a white sign with handwritten text reading "DELOREAN DREAM WORKERS NIGHTMARE."]

Make it new John was commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Chisenhale Gallery, Tramway and The Model, Sligo.