See how Jim Lambie’s hypnotic floor installations transform rooms

Jim Lambie - Zobop, 2005, colored vinyl on floor, dimensions variable, installation view at Tate, 2009
Jim Lambie – Zobop, 2005, colored vinyl on floor, dimensions variable, installation view at Tate, 2009

Who is Jim Lambie?

Jim Lambie is a visual artist, sculptor, and musician. He is perhaps most famous for his colorful and mesmerizing floor tapestries. Lambie’s floor art is done using differently colored duct tape that runs in straight lines to form colorful repetitive patterns that change the visual dynamics of a space in a big way. For this, he uses everyday generic and contemporary objects and materials such as duct tape, ornaments, furniture, and record sleeves in his art.

How Lambie started his floor works

Lambie’s first work was a series of floor art that was titled Zobop, done as a solo exhibition at a showroom by the same name in London. For this work, Lambie used vinyl tape on the floor and stairs to create repetitive patterns using nine rotating hues.

The art was designed to conform to the architectural space, running along the edges of the rooms as well as hugging the square bases of the building’s columns. The first outline is done at the widest possible edge where the floor meets the wall. As the lines go towards the inside, their widths are alternated between thick and thin strips until the center of the room.

Creating a dreamscape

The Zobop works use concentric and straight line forms. The overall effect of the floor art transforms art spaces into an energetic space that is vibrating and pulsating. The visual effect can get confusing and disorienting to the unpracticed eye. According to Lambie, floor art is an attempt at creating a dreamscape. When looking at floor art like Zobop, the viewer sees so many edges that they seem to be dissolving. There is an illusion that the room is expanding in one moment, and contracting in the next. There is a sensation that the floor surface is dissolving and evaporating, just like in a dreamscape.

What inspired the artist

Lamble’s artwork draws inspiration from iconic figures in the art and music world, including Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie. One of the examples of these influences is in ‘England Dreaming’ which is an oil painting on printed paper.

Biography

Jim Lambie was born in Glasgow in 1964. He attended the Glasgow School of Art and then went on to become a man of many hats. But he is best known for his floor art. His works are eye-catching, altering the viewer’s experience of the architecture of art spaces and beyond. His work is largely influenced by his musical background, giving his works a Pop Art feel. His floor art has been described as changing the psychology of space. He has been awarded the Turner prize for his work Mental Oyster.

Photos: Museo Nacional de Arte, 2008

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Fluorescent), 2006, Vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, La Colección Jumex, México, Museo Nacional de Arte, 2008
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Fluorescent), 2006, Vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, La Colección Jumex, México, Museo Nacional de Arte, 2008

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Fluorescent), 2006, Vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, La Colección Jumex, México, Museo Nacional de Arte, 2008
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Fluorescent), 2006, Vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, La Colección Jumex, México, Museo Nacional de Arte, 2008

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Fluorescent), 2006, Vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, La Colección Jumex, México, Museo Nacional de Arte, 2008
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Fluorescent), 2006, Vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, La Colección Jumex, México, Museo Nacional de Arte, 2008

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Fluorescent), 2006, Vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, La Colección Jumex, México, Museo Nacional de Arte, 2008
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Fluorescent), 2006, Vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, La Colección Jumex, México, Museo Nacional de Arte, 2008

Photos: Martos Gallery, New York, 2013

Jim Lambie - Zobop, Martos, 2013
Jim Lambie – Zobop, Martos Gallery, New York, 2013

Photos: The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 2014

Jim Lambie - Zobop, The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2014, Edinburgh, UK
Jim Lambie – Zobop, The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2014, Edinburgh, UK

Jim Lambie - Zobop, The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2014, Edinburgh, UK
Jim Lambie – Zobop, The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2014, Edinburgh, UK
Photo: Christopher Smail/scene360.com

Photos: Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2015

Jim Lambie - Zobop Stairs (Colour), 2003/2015, Colour vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2015
Jim Lambie – Zobop Stairs (Colour), 2003/2015, Colour vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2015

Jim Lambie - Zobop Stairs (Colour), 2003/2015, Colour vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2015
Jim Lambie – Zobop Stairs (Colour), 2003/2015, Colour vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2015

Jim Lambie - Zobop Stairs (Colour), 2003/2015, Colour vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2015
Jim Lambie – Zobop Stairs (Colour), 2003/2015, Colour vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2015

Jim Lambie - Zobop Stairs (Colour), 2003/2015, Colour vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2015
Jim Lambie – Zobop Stairs (Colour), 2003/2015, Colour vinyl tape, Dimensions variable, Installation view, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2015

Photos: Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2015

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Fluorescent), 2006, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2015
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Fluorescent), 2006, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2015

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Fluorescent), 2006, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2015, photo Stuart Whipps
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Fluorescent), 2006, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2015
Photo: Stuart Whipps/zabludowiczcollection.com

Photos: Anton Kern Gallery, New York, 2017

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, 2017
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, 2017

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, 2017
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, 2017

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, 2017
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, 2017

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, 2017
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, 2017

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, 2017
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, 2017

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, 2017
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, 2017

Jim Lambie - Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, 2017
Jim Lambie – Zobop (Viridescent), installation view, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, 2017

Photos: Galleria d’Arte Moderna Torino, 2017

Jim Lambie - Zobop - Galleria d'Arte Moderna Torino, 2017
Jim Lambie – Zobop, Galleria d’Arte Moderna Torino, 2017

Photos: Tate Liverpool, 2018

Jim Lambie - Zobop, Tate Liverpool, 2018
Jim Lambie – Zobop, Tate Liverpool, 2018

Jim Lambie - Zobop, Tate Liverpool, 2018
Jim Lambie – Zobop, Tate Liverpool, 2018

Jim Lambie - Zobop, Tate Liverpool, 2018
Jim Lambie – Zobop, Tate Liverpool, 2018

Jim Lambie - Zobop, Tate Liverpool, 2018
Jim Lambie – Zobop, Tate Liverpool, 2018

All images by Jim Lambie/themoderninstitute.com unless otherwise noted.

Videos

Conversation with Jim Lambie, 2018

36min 18sec

Studio visit & interview, 2009

3min 21sec

Jim Lambie installation at MCA Australia for the 19th Biennale of Sydney

1min 47sec

Timelapse: installing Jim Lambie’s staircase

16sec

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