Steven Campbell

A Man Perceived by a Flea

About this artwork

In this painting, the bubble-like capsule encompassing the man’s head is, as the title suggests, a flea’s impression of a head seen through its multi-faceted eye. But why the man wears only one shoe and why another head appears at his waist is not clear, nor is it intended to be. Campbell was influenced by the spirit of Surrealism – the idea of a picture reflecting mental space, rather than real, physical, space. Yet, while his work is complex and absurd, it is also humorous. As in this picture, Campbell’s paintings often suggest a narrative, but this cannot be ‘read’ in a straightforward manner. Many of his paintings contain strong theatrical elements, showing the influence of contemporary performance art.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    A Man Perceived by a Flea
  • date created:
    1985
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    272.00 x 242.00 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1987
  • accession number:
    GMA 3049
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Steven Campbell

Steven Campbell