People Like Us: The Gossip of Colin Campbell surveys the Canadian artist's pioneering video career from early tapes like True/False (1972) to his ultimate and final work, Que Sera Sera (2001). It is the first major exhibition of his work since his death in 2001. Curated by Jon Davies, the retrospective is on tour across Canada and features a bilingual catalogue.
For Colin Campbell, making art was mostly what friends and lovers did together in the young art community developing in Toronto in the seventies and eighties. Campbell's homespun tapes are a collage of tell tales, rumours, conversations and daydreams gleaned from his everyday life. The characters he created and inhabited confide secrets and stories to us, crafting elaborate and compelling mythologies around themselves.
Campbell used videotapes as a way to gossip with – and about – his actual social circle while creating a whole new one: a group of fictional personas who became tangibly real once their tapes were watched and talked about. Ironic, irreverent and ambiguous, always attuned to the playful shifting of genders and desires, Campbell's tapes chart how identity is performed and circulated in the social world.
[Adapted from a text by Jon Davies]