Jim Lambie is that dangerous word, a ‘genius’
James “Jim” Lambie is a contemporary visual artist, and was shortlisted for the 2005 Turner Prize with an installation called Mental Oyster. Jim Lambie graduated from the Glasgow School of Art with a Honors Bachelors of Arts degree. Wikipedia
The word “genius” is the nuclear weapon in the critic’s armoury. A lot of people think it should never be used. I used it a while ago and someone wrote to the Guardian complaining. I think they thought I was using it satirically - so rarely is this term employed and so dangerous is its aura.
Yet it has a venerable history. In Renaissance Europe the idea of the “genius” of the artist grew out of Neo-Platonic philosophy and the idea that creativity comes to the poet in a “fury”, a frenzy. From the start it identified artistic excellence with transports of mind. Albrecht Dürer may have been the first artist to see himself as a “genius”, portraying himself as a Christ-like messianic figure. Anyway I know a genius when I see one and the Glasgow artist Jim Lambie is a genius.