Cameron Jamie: Carved Ink

20 Octobre - 30 Novembre 2007 Cloître Saint-Merri I & II - Paris

Galerie Nathalie Obadia is pleased to organize an exhibition of Cameron Jamie in Paris, where he has lived since 2000.

Born in 1969 in the Valley, considered to be a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, Cameron Jamie became known in the mid-1990s for his videos, sculptures, drawings and performances.
Cameron Jamie describes himself as a "skinny male in the Valley", alone in his room watching "ugly" movies, reading comic books, collecting commonplace objects. He considers himself a pure reproduction of the ordinary people of the otherwise triumphant America.
His work is interested in the cultural and historical roots of popular and folkloric manifestations (marginal or not) and their rooting in society. Investigation is at the heart of Cameron Jamie's work, which, through the acuity of his artistic - as well as ethnographic and sociological - gaze, reveals the dysfunctions of Western society. Through films, wooden sculptures, drawings and paintings, Cameron Jamie explores myths and popular rituals such as Halloween, historical re-enactments or the biggest-eating contests so common in the United States. He pays close attention to these aspects of popular culture that are often deliberately ignored, showing all the details of the "ritual" that accompanies these often theatrical events. Cameron Jamie reveals all the aesthetic essence that allows us to better understand the meanings of these different expressions, often considered "primitive", coming from Satanism and paganism. We have seen this particularly in hand-to-hand combat as a fight where violence is simulated. These games were very popular in the suburbs of Los Angeles as in the San Fernando Valley still in the late 90s. This can be seen in the UPland BB video and the BB film.
Cameron Jamie also observed and interpreted the post-punk gothic culture of the 80's (The Cure, Sixious) and its clothing ritual among others.
Other European myths have been particularly well studied by Cameron Jamie such as Joan of Arc who symbolizes the exacerbated nationalism and bigotry that leads to ideological extremes. This is particularly well filmed in JO where he juxtaposes the rapprochement of patriotic neuroses between Europe and America where we see a contest for the biggest hot dog eater on Cosney Island which symbolizes the avatars of the American consumerist society. In Cameron Jamie's work, aesthetics is fundamental, expressing through the different media used, the profoundly cultural character and ritual of the staging. There is a beauty to be extracted that Cameron Jamie expresses in his films, sculptures and drawings.
Cameron Jamie was also moved by a book on the representations of the Devil, so he went to Europe, to Austria where a traditional annual ceremony celebrates St. Nicholas and his demonic companions called Krampus. These are processions of children and adults carrying carved wooden sculptures of scary faces. Cameron Jamie had the carvings made by a craftsman in an Austrian province where the ceremony is very much alive. He finds the same strength of the folk roots as in his native Valley. Extraordinarily expressive drawings trace the Austrian ritual.
Cameron Jamie's exhibition at the Kunstverein in Cologne at the end of 2006 showed a huge tree trunk carved with these faces distorted with the drawings.

The exhibition entitled "Carved Ink" will bring together a series of works on paper of different formats dated 2007. It punctuates several events that took place in 2005 and 2006: Participation in the Whitney Biennial in 2005 with Kranky Klaus, first major solo exhibition that traces almost 20 years of work at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis organized in 2006 by Philippe Vergne, chief curator. The exhibition traveled to the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Massachusetts. Cameron Jamie was invited by the 2006 Autumn Festival at the Opéra Comique in Paris the same year to show JO accompanied by the music of Keiji Haino, a cult artist in Japan and one of the most prominent and atypical figures of the Japanese and international scene. Cameron Jamie will participate in an exhibition organized by Jean de Loisy "Traces du Sacré" at the Centre Pompidou in 2008.