We find ourselves in Cremona, specifically in the San Carlo space, a deconsecrated church that has been hosting high-profile exhibitions for some years now. A few weeks ago, it opened Above the Cold, a solo exhibition by Jessi Reaves. The exhibition unfolds around a large scaffolding structure, a rough facsimile of a modern house. Intrigued, we ventured to see what it’s all about. The show features sculptures and videos, some of which are partially inaccessible to the public. In the case of the sculptural component, there are formal enhancements to familiar objects, where visitors can see their reflection or sit.
Visualizza questo post su Instagram
Two customized monitors display the artist Jessi Reaves’ second video work, Reflects as One. It’s a blend of audio collage and dramatic reenactment, all dubbed by the voices of the film The Women (2008), an unmissable movie. This film is a melodramatic reconstruction of the 1939 movie of the same name directed by George Cukor. The voices of the actresses, cut and reassembled over Reaves’ edited video track, create the sense of a film playing in the background, to be passively watched.
Jessi Reaves blurs the line between art and design through her versatile sculptural practice, treating furniture objects as both materials and objects, thus erasing the distinction between function and aesthetics. Her action renders the material accessible and purposeful, raw yet intentional, capable of recontextualizing less refined surfaces. In this exhibition, you’ll find your perception of the history of objects distorted, disrupting the seemingly infinite associations that it creates for the viewer.
But who is Jessi Reaves, and what is her solo exhibition doing in Cremona? Let’s start from the beginning. Born in 1986, this New York-based artist has already worked with prestigious institutions such as the Arts Club of Chicago, the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, and many others. Her works are part of public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. She came to Cremona thanks to artist Servane Mary, also from New York, who invited artists to bring their site-specific works to the San Carlo space.
What sets Jessi Reaves apart is her focus on a specific gray area, the one that divides design and art. The artist has also collaborated with Acne Studios for a limited edition capsule collection of recycled jewelry and objects for Fall/Winter 2022. But that’s not all; John Galliano also involved her in creating a site-specific artwork that served as a backdrop for Maison Margiela’s couture Spring/Summer 2018 collection. It was the first time Galliano had asked an artist to create something to accompany Margiela’s collections.
Courtesy the artist, Bridget Donahue NY. Photo credit: Form Group.