press release

The Swiss Institute – Contemporary Art is pleased to present the first solo exhibition by Norma Jeane in the US.

A motorcycle’s revving engine roars like an animal, louder and louder as visitors approach. A year’s worth of disposable contact lenses worn by one person suggest an archive of what was seen during the year. A comfortable sofa, saturated with pheromones. The hair of the artist, in a single, knotted strand over 100 km long, wound around a Teflon spool...The body, central to the work of Norma Jeane, is represented by proxy: never present but always hinted at.

Norma Jeane’s work proposes a reading of the body as an entity becoming abstract. BODY PROXY takes form at the SI in revealing the power, energy and will of the body. As its title indicates, the exhibition presents works that stand as authorized representatives for the body. However, there are no bodies to be seen in the exhibition except those of the visitors.

The visitor is central to the activation of the main work in the show, RPM, which consists of a grey Yamaha YZF-R1, 998 cc, linked to high-tech sensors. The powerful engine remains off, but as visitors approach, the motorcycle revs, roaring like an animal, in a deafening noise. Only when the viewer withdraws does the motorbike return to a lower gear, and off again, while powerful fans try to cool it down. Waste of energy, excess, and the erotic pair of repulsion and attraction form essential elements in this work.

Norma Jeane was born in Los Angeles on the night of August 4-5, 1962, at the same moment when Marilyn Monroe died. Norma Jeane lives and works in the places where the projects are developed.

This project was developed by Norma Jeane in collaboration with curator Giovanni Carmine and is produced in cooperation between the three organizations presenting different incarnations of BODY PROXY: Helmhaus Zurich, Kunstverein Freiburg (D), and the SI.

A catalogue has been published by JRP/Ringier and includes texts by William S. Burroughs, Umberto Galimberti, and Paul Virilio, with essays by Alessandra Galasso and Giovanni Carmine and illustrations of the works.

Body Proxy has been made possible in thanks to: CSEM, DEFEKT GmbH (Zurich), Thierry Oggier, Jürg Lehni,, F.lli Carmine (Bellinzona), Carlo Forcolini, Angelo Boni, Francesco Forcolini.


only in german

BODY PROXY / An Exhibition by Norma Jeane
+ ECHOPLEX / Special project by Mika Tajima