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Camden // Jean-Christian Bourcart


“Absurd, all I did was search the web for the most dangerous city in the USA. I wanted to find that strange energy given off by places where rules and social constraints have been abolished or weakened. A sense of freedom mixed with the excitement of danger. Also, I wanted to understand and witness what is real life behind the statistics, and check that it’s still possible to reach out to others, as distant and alien as they might seem.

At the top of the list I found Camden, New Jersey, less than two hours from New York. There, I discovered the face of everyday poverty hidden behind stigma and stereotype. Through everyday observations, incidental, significant details of destruction and helplessness, but also emotional gesture, I confront the realities of those who have been out of the system for too long, victims of what the sociologist Loïc Wacquant calls a “territorial stigmatization” of whole neighborhoods as “no-go areas” as an important structural element of the new “urban exclusion in the twenty-first century.” Yet there is not more violence in Camden than anywhere else. It is just more raw and visible, and less masked by hypocrisy and cynicism. Maybe this work will help to provide some evidence of the economic and social machine that swallows us up and spits us out. How to determine what is really going on – and then what to do about it – is at the base of every political and social concern.

"Jean-Christian Bourcart is one of the best contemporary photographers working today. His work is extremely imaginative; totally unique; deeply humanistic and often imbued with wit. He is unlike any other artist I know." — Nan Goldin

Jean-Christian Bourcart's Special Movie Night
Thursday, January 31 at 7:30pm

FORTUNE TELLERS (9′ – 2011) I visit fortune tellers with a hidden camera. They tell me about my life, my love issues, recommend me not to trust my so-called friends. Facing the disclosure of that told intimacy, the viewer is turned into an unwilling witness of a crumbled story, which interrogates notions of personality, destiny, and truth.

IN MEMORY OF THE DAY TO COME (80′ – 2010). A new level of consciousness is arising from people’s capacity to dream together. They will ultimately realize that there is not much difference between the state of dreaming and that of being awake. Starring Elodie Bouchez, Jason Fleitz, Jordan Mahome, Phyllis Johnson, Philippe Hartmann.

As a photographer, Bourcart has been the recipient of the Prix Nadar (2011), the prix Niepce (2010), the Prix du Jeu de Paume (2006), the World Press Award (1991), and the Prix Gilles Dusein(1999). He also wrote and directed two feature movies and fifteen video works. His work has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk; Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Genève; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; and the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris. Bourcart’s exhibitions include Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk; Museum für Photographie Braunschweig; Centre National de la Photographie, Paris; Galerie du Jour, Paris; Kagan Martos Gallery, New York; Reflex Gallery, Amsterdam; Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York. He was a recipient of grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Centre National des Arts Plastiques, and  the Villa Medicis Hors Les Murs. Born in 1960 in France, Jean-Christian Bourcart has been living  and working in New York since 1997.

Dates + Time
January 5–February 2
Thursday, January 31, Movie Night at 7:30pm

Opening Reception
January 5


The Main Gallery
51 Bergen St.

Earlier Event: December 11
The Shining
Later Event: January 10
Sacre // David Wampach