Steffani Jemison “Bound” at Greene Naftali, New York

By Last Updated: February 23, 2024Views: 47

My which means is restricted: it’s about black individuals who might fly. That was a part of the folklore of my life; flying was certainly one of our items . . . Maybe it was wishful considering—escape, demise, and all that. However suppose it wasn’t. What would possibly it imply? I attempted to seek out out . . .
—Toni Morrison in dialog with LeClair, T. (1994)

Our bodies in movement kind the propulsive core of Steffani Jemison’s observe, which she describes as a melding of kinetic and literary disciplines into works of density and insufferable lightness. “Certain,” her second exhibition at Greene Naftali, attracts on motifs of the limitless sky and the broader impulse to take to the air, extending her curiosity in legacies of dispersal and fugitivity in Black cultural traditions. Jemison’s work throughout media has lengthy been involved with the load of each bodily and social forces, however right here defying the gravitational pull is consonant with surrendering to it, envisioning new potentialities for liberation in each suspension and descent.

Maybe best-known for her hypnotic video portrayals of extremely expert performers, Jemison considers the bodily exploits of Chicago-based tumblers who twist, leap, and vault themselves into the air in her newest transferring picture work. The movie lingers on their suspension, typically slicing to photographs of an enormous sky overlayed with the distorted emblem of the nation’s largest trampoline firm, SkyBound, wading in its contradictory intimations and lexical potentialities. Narrations from two tumblers envisioning the expertise of flying and a feverish, improvised soundtrack by drummer Brandon “Buz” Donald, embody the sort of heedless freedom recommended by flight, enunciated by the luxurious strokes of the evening sky from a discovered theatrical backdrop towards which the movie is framed.

The bodily transgressions carried out by the movie’s tumblers are additional distilled by pipe-and-fitting sculptures that resemble a jungle gymnasium. Hinged to the sculptures and located throughout the gallery are drawings on mirrored glass that evoke Jemison’s personal archives and artwork historic references, together with canonical sources impressed by the parable of Icarus. Right here, the story of Icarus, which begins with an incarcerated father and son, dovetails with a wider meditation on an expertise of transgression, or as Jemison has argued, “to the tantalizing risk of escape, particular person and collective.” In Jemison’s retelling, the autumn of Icarus is interpreted not solely by way of the lens of failure, but additionally freedom: “The information that candy launch, albeit non permanent, feels price virtually any threat.”

at Greene Naftali, New York
till March 9, 2024


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