text/catalogues exhibitions   collections   1990 - 96   1997 - 99 2000 - 17
about contact   1969 - 75 1976 - 80 1980 - 89
from Arnolfini brochure  1981  









Lewis Biggs


Colin Crumplin has worked in a 'systematic' manner for many years, setting up a set of 'rules' for the creation of his work, for instance the repetition of a particular element through several mathematical permutations until the 'terminal' rule is fulfilled. The idea of 'accident' enters this predetermined process at two points—the beginning (the element to be repeated is a 'chance' element) and the end (the moment at which the terminal rule is fulfilled is unforeseen). Much of Ihe excitement of work of this nature derives from the artist's skill with his materials in addition to the limits of his control over the process of system and chance. Recently. Crumplin has emphasised this element by relinquishing the purely accidental nature of the 'first event' (the blot or mark which formed the model for systematic propagation) and using instead a ‘first event' made from a gesture made with the hand or the imprint of his body in wet plaster. This human or subjective content to the work increases the tension between its formal and systematic structure (its material substance) and our desire to read into it artistic sensibility. It begs the question of all artistic activity: how much is an aesthetic object the result of skilled intention?