Campbell Addy feels distant from his essence, senses that he has lost along the way the identity that has characterized the last four years of his life. I ❤ Campbell is a path for the artist to reconnect with himself, with his deeper side of which he no longer felt he belonged to. His first solo exhibition in the spaces of 180 Studios appears as a discourse with himself about details of life that inspire his creative practice but have fallen into oblivion over the course of his career. It marks an important moment for Addy, who after eight successful years stops to reflect and figure out how to find those missing fragments: it is a real turning point. The artist questions his work, his purpose, and his future, and senses a strong desire to uncover the enthusiasm that sparked his art and his curiosity, building a new image of who he is, beyond what he knows to be. The journey has as its destination the discovery of the photographer who made the Nii Journal, one of Campbell’s first major works. The project grew out of the artist’s own vision to create a publication that embraced and encouraged diversity, one that could illuminate the hardships some groups endured along with their triumphs and life stories; the main goal was to educate, and so he wants to return to it.
“I’d lost the creative Campbell that did Nii Journal, the fearless person who dragged a door from the street into his room to make photographs. That initiated me into this world, and I forgot that.”
I ❤ Campbell explores several of the artist’s practices, including photography, painting and a new film shot in Ghana: the 36 original pieces presented for the occasion are the result of his growth. The audience is confronted with works by a great photographer and, at the same time, it has the opportunity to analyze Campbell’s psyche, to understand deeply how he managed to find his lost essence. A completely new side of the artist is presented, a part of himself that he had still kept hidden, ready to explode. The title of the trip sounds like an almost narcissistic statement, but it is merely a way of receiving positive energy: the photographer teaches the way to talk to their own feelings, tells how to love oneself and how to adore their own body, while also showing the fragilities. I ❤ Campbell is an exhibition of vulnerability. The space fully immerses the audience within the artist’s emotions through a design curated by designer Ibby Njoya and a background sound that accompanies the viewer throughout the path. The experience shows different parts of Addy, both aesthetically and thematically, that are closely connected by his feelings: the paintings are ways to love himself, to understand his mental health, and to explore the connection with his own body and sex. His photographs, on the other hand, represent a specific moment that strikes him, a single moment that captures his attention, a scene that he immortalizes in that exact second or it will be lost forever. The notes that can be seen above some of the shots are a new visual language of the artist that allows him to share some of his reflections with the audience, deconstructing the idea of the image through another image. The interpretations of the notes are endless; the audience can fully immerse themselves in Campbell Addy’s psyche, reflecting those question marks directly on their own reflections.
“I think I took some time away to grow so that I could come back and do it all over again: that’s how it feels.”
Instead, with his film he returns to Ghana, his spiritual and healing place that allows him to go back in time and benefit from the past. The idea is based on love, in particular to the kind of language one must use when dealing with this theme and consequently to the different expressions of passion. What is called “love” in English has a thousand correspondences in another language, so he comes to the conclusion of creating a completely language-free video. Decolonizing My Tongue With Love is about people from Ghana expressing the first time they fell in love, but without a voice, like a work of art. I ❤ Campbell is a pure search for himself, a personal journey through different mediums, all linked by the same artist. The exhibition is a starting point and at the same time a point of arrival, it is the beginning of his new career but also the end of a period of loss, it is definitely a turning point. Through the visual experience he was able to collect those fragments he had lost along the way and which are now part of Addy’s world, “a world within love, grounded by nature.”
For further information 180studios.com.