Installation view of Claire Lambe’s <em>Sudden bursts of nasty laughter</em> 2022-2023 on display as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023. Image: Sean Fennessy

Claire Lambe

Claire Lambe
(b. 1962, Macclesfield, England. Lives and works in Melbourne)

For more than two decades, Claire Lambe’s distinctly referential art practice has explored the material and transformative possibilities of sculpture, using it to create new forms of representation. Her work draws our attention to the complexity of attachment, preferring a work to hold an attitude that unsettles conventional notions of gender and class.

Commissioned by the NGV for Melbourne Now, Lambe’s film Sudden bursts of nasty laughter, 2022, compels us to search a body for narrative clues, instances of direction, and aspects of the constellation of human emotion. Lambe is committed to disrupting certainty and leaving images and their accompanying sounds unfixed. In the film, a self-conscious subject performs an act of freedom. Lambe searches the cinematic for moments of enjoyment and consciousness, honing in on a single scene and liberating ele‑ ments of the behind-the-scenes production and making. The project sits in association with previous film installations by Lambe – Kisser/The friend, 2022; I just can’t help myself, 2021; and Mother holding something horrific, 2017 – as explorations of the extimate, uncommon body.

Lambe completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at Bristol College of Art in 1985, after which she completed postgraduate studies at the University of New South Wales in 1990 and a Master of Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London in 1995. She has exhibited in Australia and overseas, including at the National Gallery of Australia (2020), TarraWarra Museum of Art (2018), Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (2017), Gertrude Contemporary (2015), National Gallery of Victoria (2013, 2015) and more.

Along with Elvis Richardson, Lambe was co-founder of Death Be Kind, an artist-run project that ran from 2010 to 2012 in Melbourne. She was a studio resident at Gertrude Contemporary from 2014–16 and has also undertaken residencies at ISCP, New York (2016) and ACME studios, London (2018). In 2017 she was the recipient of the Darebin Art Prize. She is currently a lecturer in Sculpture at the Victorian College of the Arts, the University of Melbourne.