Cameron Jamie — Statuettes and Drawings
Statuettes and Drawings
Past: September 10 → October 8, 2011
The practice of Cameron Jamie has a distinct place in the contemporary art scene. Born in Los Angeles and based in France A new series of drawings in Indian ink alongside glazed ceramic sculptures will present a gallery of strange and elegiac, almost poignant figures that seem to question the nature of our human condition and our tragic destiny as social animals.
Jamie’s sculptures appearing to turn away form the visitor, retreating into an autonomous world governed by its own laws. In this way, he obliges the viewer to examine and confront them, in a vital process that may give rise to fear, to anger, or to love. This cathartic energy seems to inhabit the figures in both the sculptures and drawings, which are sometimes mute, and sometimes appear to be twisted by a muffled cry that echoes silently in space.
The ceramic sculptures are a recent development, a three-dimensional extension of the drawings that Jamie has been producing in prolific quantities since the early 2000s. Just as the artist lets his ink trace abrupt landscapes and biomorphic lines on the paper, so he allows the sculptures to “determine their own forms”. Clay, that substance with which young children make their first art, provides him with a primitive, magical relation to organic matter.
“A lot of these fragile creatures don’t make it as far as the exhibition” explains the artist. “In ceramic there’s a lot of failures, of breakage, a strong experimental dimension.” The works presented in the exhibition are the result of a “big bang” of an alchemical encounter between opposing forces. Going further than in his first ceramic pieces, which he showed at the Berlin Biennale in 2010, the artist worked on the bases of the sculptures by hand, in a bodily tussle with the material, producing unidentified artistic objects that look like half-bone, half-rock, in a range of colours going from gold to brown.
In going back to ceramics — the ancient art of fire — Cameron Jamie celebrates its profoundly time-based nature, dictated by the rhythm of the firings and the glazing of the clay. Intimately close to the natural cycle, this humble medium and intimate relation to matter make Jamie’s art the antithesis of so much industrial and spectacular contemporary art.