Anyone who comes across Benedikte Bjerre’s artwork in Schwamendingen, Zurich, is tempted to rub their eyes: a life-sized camel stands on a patch of grass beneath the bridge Aubrücke. A Camel in Schwamendingen makes reference to the fact that pack animals (although admittedly no camels) were once also used here as a means of transporting goods.
However, simply bridging that gap would be too banal for this artist, who also has a degree in sociology. The artist’s engagement with this neighbourhood arose from the local context beneath Aubrücke and the way in which this concentration of arterial roads affects this location. “I assume this is not a place most people normally have visited, while nearly everybody who has been to Zurich has driven over it on the highway. It’s a sort of non-place. It could be anywhere in the world and is very local at the same time. It also has this brutal beauty (for me at least) that I really like.” Cultural homogeneity and alienation are key themes in the work of Benedikte Bjerre; simultaneously, they reflect the spirit of our times. The foreign is suddenly near – like in a Circus.
Courtesy of the artist und Lullin+Ferrari, Zürich