• Deutsch
  • English

participating artist



Jon Kessler: The Palace at 4 A.M., 2005/07
Multimedia Installation (Installation view
Galerie Hans Mayer)
Größe variabel
Sammlung Falckenberg Hamburg
© Jon Kessler
Photo: Michael Dannemann
Courtesy Galerie Hans Mayer Düsseldorf

Press release excerpt "Jon Kessler. The Palace at 4 a.m.", October 23, 2005 through February 6, 2006, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center New York

Referencing issues relevant to contemporary society - including politics, war, advertising, propaganda and surveillance – Kessler's work thrusts the viewer directly into a complex visual experience. Though sources of inspiration and information are varied and include reality television such as "The Swan," kabuki, and Apocalypse Now, The Palace at 4 a.m. ultimately speaks to the history of image production and representations of warfare. The exhibition explores our society's alienation from the real (demonstrated most recently by "Over There," a new television drama chronicling the war in Iraq as it continues to rage). The intention is for the viewer to experience the piece as if she is putting her head inside a television that is in the process of being channel surfed. According to Kessler, "My aim is to create a kind of visual journalism of the past four years, where underneath this abundance of stimuli, what takes place is an investigation into how the images that occupy our realities and dreams are constructed and manipulated." Based on the dual notion of deconstruction and reconstruction, this conflict and relationship is immediately apparent in The Palace at 4 a.m.'s intricate infrastructure. Based in one large gallery with adjoining exhibition spaces around the periphery, Kessler's work is comprised of a network of kinetic sculptures, each of which incorporate surveillance cameras acting in tandem with the sculptures' movements to create video imagery occurring in real time. In the center of the main gallery - or central nerve bank - is what the artist coins a "termite mound" of imaginery. Actions and images created live in peripheral areas (as well as in the main space itself) are simultaneously displayed on monitors and screens in the central nerve. This information is constantly assembled and reassembled, resulting in scenes that appear unfamiliar, disorienting and sometimes dangerous. All of the apparatuses used for The Palace at 4 a.m. are in plain view. Thus, the wires, gears, cameras, motors, etc. constitute the body of the work itself, creating yet another dual relationship. Though Kessler demystifies the physical structure, it also serves to further mystify his manipulations; viewers must trust themselves to ponder the power of each image despite that fact that everything is visible to the eye.


born 1957 in Yonkers, New York
lives and works in New York


S.U.N.Y. at Purchase, New York, B.F.A.
Whitney Museum Independent Study Studio Program, New York

National Endowment  for the Arts

Professor an der School of the Arts, Division of  Visual Arts der Columbia University

St. Gaudens Memorial

Guggenheim Fellowship

Foundation for Performing Arts

Selected Exhibitions

Jon Kessler – The Palace at 4 AM, Galerie Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf
New York – States of Mind, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
Kunstmaschinen Maschinenkunst, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt in Kooperation mit Museum Tinguely, Basel (ab Januar 2008)
The Blue Period, Galerie Arndt & Partner, Berlin
Nothing but Pleasure, Bawag Foundation, Wien
The Expanded Eye, Kunsthaus Zürich
Jon Kessler – The Palace at 4 AM, Phoenix Kulturstiftung/Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg
Faster! Bigger! Better! ZKM | Museum für Neue Kunst & Medienmuseum, Karlsruhe 
The Golden Hour Gigantic Art Space, New York, NY 

Lichtkunst aus Kunstlicht ZKM | Museum für Neue Kunst
Jon Kessler - The Palace at 4 AM P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York
Overhead/Underfoot: The Topographical Perspective in Photography, Whitney Museum of Art, New York

Hermes Forum Gallery, Tokyo
Deitch Projects, New York, NY 

The Commodification of Buddha, Bronx Museum, New York
Yesterday begins tomorrow, Deste Foundation, Centre for Contemporary Art, Athen