01 06 2013
#3339

Cameron Jamie at Kunsthalle Zürich, June 2013


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Cameron Jamie 

9 JUNE – 18 AUGUST 2013 
PRESS INFORMATION: FRIDAY, 7 JUNE, 11 AM OPENING: SUNDAY, 9 JUNE, 11 AM – 5 
PM 

Kunsthalle Zürich presents a comprehensive solo exhibition by the American 
artist Cameron Jamie (born in 1969 in Los Angeles), which reveals the wide 
diversity of media he employs in his artistic production. Covering more 
than two decades of activity, the exhibition intertwines early works, such 
as the black and white photographic series Front Lawn Funerals and 
Cemeteries (1984 – ongoing), the installation of the documented performance The 
New Life (1996) and its related cloth/vinyl mask Self-Portrait (1992), with 
very recent ceramic sculptures like Ma Blue (2012) and new ink drawings. 
For the first time, the artist has al- lowed his drawings, sculptures, 
ceramics and objects to be shown in dialogue with his films BB 
(1998–2000), Massage 
the History (2007–2009) and Kranky Klaus (2002–2003), which portray both 
the American and European vernacular and amateur traditions through a 
radical ar- rangement of images and sound. 

The leitmotiv of the exhibition is the mask, a figure that constantly 
surfaces in a variety of Cameron Jamie’s works down through the years. A 
metaphor for the dialectic game of concealing and reveal- ing the 
individual’s identity, the mask stands for the fragile boundary between 
private and social conduct. In his earliest works, the mask was an allegory 
of the persistence of vernacular rituals in urban societies. Cameron 
Jamie's sculptures and ink drawings further develop this motif to explore 
the layers of the body as a territory of analysis and investigation. The 
media of drawing and ceram- ics allow the artist even greater radicalism 
and intimacy in his works, in which both the immediacy and the fragility of 
existential themes are tangible. 

Cameron Jamie’s perspective on suburban culture, the appropriation of 
vernacular rituals and the persistence of obscure, magical elements in our 
society is both a sympathetic and an analytical one. He has been manifestly 
nurtured by the same kaleidoscopic culture that he portrays. It would be a 
mistake to interpret his fascination with popular activities and behaviour 
as a way of blurring the boundaries between high and low culture. Today, 
pop culture is largely accepted, not only in main- stream cultural 
production but also in prestigious cultural institutions and in academia. 
Instead, Cameron Jamie is interested in marginal realities and amateur 
home-based practices that reveal the hidden face of our society. In 
addition to the theme of the mask, violence is another recurring subject in 
the work of the artist, a violence that appears to feature in every 
activity that the artist observes, from his native Los Angeles to Alpine 
villages in rural Austria. The subtle presence of violence is mostly 
depicted in the film works of Cameron Jamie. In The New Life (1996), the 
artist documents his own staged fight against an impersonator of Michael 
Jackson. In the well-known film BB (1998–2000), the violence is further 
explored as an amateur wrestling show performed in the backyard of a 
suburban home. Equally descriptive is the film Kranky Klaus (2002–2003), 
which portrays the annual ritual of Krampuslauf in Austria. 

Massage the History (2007–2009), his most recent film, offers another view 
of a marginal reality and presents a private performance by amateur dancers 
in their living rooms in Alabama. Yet, it also clearly depicts an 
unconditioned fascination with the poetry and beauty that arises in 
unexpected places. As the dancers move in elegant and explicit ways, 
engaging in a provocative dance with the living-room furniture, the 
underscoring music by Sonic Youth provides a hypnotic soundtrack to the 
film, emphasizing its mesmerizing atmosphere. Music and sound is undeniably 
an essential component of Jamie’s film work; the artist has collaborated 
with musicians like The Melvins and Keiji Haino, for example, who have also 
provided compelling soundscapes for his films. 

The works presented in this extensive exhibition clearly position the 
artist outside the conventional paths of contemporary artistic production 
while also establishing the uniqueness and significance of his practice. 
The two floors of Kunsthalle Zürich have been adapted and arranged to 
exemplify the tension generated by the confrontation between the inside and 
the outside, which is illustrated by the wide-ranging and varied selection 
of the artist’s works. 

The Cameron Jamie exhibition presented at Kunsthalle Zürich will travel to 
additional venues. Fur- ther information will be available on our website. 

Publication 

A comprehensive catalogue of Cameron Jamie’s exhibition will be published 
by JRP|Ringier Kunstverlag. For additional information and details, please 
visit our homepage. 

Cameron Jamie «Inner Planets», Palmenhaus in the Old Botanical Garden 
Zurich 

Cameron Jamie’s installation «Inner Planets» at Palmenhaus in the Old 
Botanical Garden Zurich comprising 42 clay masks is curated by Lynn Kost 
and held in cooperation with Kunsthalle Zürich and Art in Public Space 
Zurich (KiöR). 1. – 30.6. 
Palmenhaus in the Old Botanical Garden Zurich, Pelikanstrasse 40, 8001 
Zurich (entrance: corner of Talstrasse/Badweg), open: 11am – 3pm daily 

Events 

Press Information: Friday, 7.6., 11 am 

Contemporary Art Day, Sunday, 9.6., from 10 am 

10 am: Opening Cameron Jamie «Inner Planets», Palmenhaus in the Old 
Botanical Garden Zurich 11 am – 5 pm: Opening Cameron Jamie at Kunsthalle 
Zürich; Introduction by Beatrix Ruf 

Special guided tour: Thursday, 20.6., 6 pm 

Guided tour on the topic ‘masks’ with Lynn Kost through Cameron Jamie’s 
installation at Palmenhaus and through the exhibition at Kunsthalle Zürich. 
Meeting point: Palmenhaus, Old Botanical Garden Zurich 

Public guided tours (in German) Sunday Tours, 2 pm 

16.6. (Rahel Blättler) / 30.6. (Niels Olsen) / 14.7. (Anna Francke) / 
28.7. (RB) / 11.8. (AF) 

Lunchtime Tours, Wednesday, 12.30 pm 

26.6. (NO) / 17.7. (RB) 

Evening Tours, Thursday, 6.30 pm 

27.6. (NO) / 4.7. (RB) / 25.7. (AF) / 15.8 (NO) 
Please consult the latest information on www.kunsthallezurich.ch 

Further information and images are available on request by telephone +41 44 
272 15 15 or email presse@kunsthallezurich.ch. 

Opening hours 

TUE/WED/FRI 11 AM – 6 PM, THUR 11 AM – 8 PM, SAT/SUN 10 AM – 5 PM MO CLOSED 
MO 10.6. 10 AM – 5 PM, HOLIDAYS: 1.8. 10 AM – 5 PM 
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