Submitted Review

Jon Campbell: No Planet B

  • Gertrude Glasshouse • Collingwood

  • 25 March—27 March 2021

  • Marielle Soni • Published 26 March 2021

‘A breathing space between disasters would be good’

A particularly beautiful relationship in Campbell’s ‘No Planet B’ is the process of collaboration and conversation. It’s a lovely silky, comforting twine that started from the words of protest: Bronwyn Jonson’s collation of phrases and words compiled from protest placards at various climate marches, with poignant mention to the brave school strikers who inherit this world we shape. Her archive of words was given to Campbell to inspire text-based art, these in turn were shared with Aaron Beehre of Ilam Press who contributed his own manipulations and resulted in this publication.

‘No Planet B’ is editioned from 1 to 100 signed and numbered by Campbell consisting of fifteen A3 size prints and introduction text page by Johnson. Bound in cardboard with a colour print dust jacket which also unfolds to become a large-scale poster. The exhibition itself is installed upstairs in a light filled room including a couple of Campbell’s well known ‘Fuck Yeah’ unique state prints. The dominating wall though contains the procession of the 2-colour risograph prints from the book, yes, they can be removed to become wall art.

Joy of words, joys of making sounds, playing with word as visual motif. It’s a meaningful encounter to decipher the text – ‘Fossil Fool’ in formal abstraction, squashed up to the picture plane in high-key hot colours. I realise I am mouthing the words as I try to make them out. I too become a contributor to the conversation, seduced by wit and play, comprehending their traumatic reality.

‘A breathing space between disasters would be good’, another text-based print. I’m being forced to slow down and pay attention to word and meaning as there is no breathing space between the letters. I slowly unscramble them. A jumbled panic. I know how those little letters feel.

‘HOT’ is hot, inspiring six original small scale works in various media in a neat, formal placement on the opposite wall making up the supporting exhibition. In various modulations of the cross motif, they tip their hat to the late John Nixon.

The Melbourne Art Book Fair is a part of Melbourne Design Week, usually hosted inside the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne but as we emerge from COVID protocols sees events across Melbourne in various satellite spaces.