Curated by Francesco Urbano Ragazzi
In collaboration with Apalazzogallery
Angela Missoni, celebrating her 20th anniversary as Missoni’s Creative Director this fall, is pleased to announce the next project in her Surface Conversion series: “Blue, Yellow, Red, Purple,” a project by poet and filmmaker Jonas Mekas which will debut on Wednesday, October 25th at Missoni’s NYC boutique, located at 1009 Madison Avenue.
Curated by the duo Francesco Urbano Ragazzi in collaboration with A Palazzo Gallery, the exhibition is a visual poem that Mekas has dedicated to his “home,” New York City, which welcomed him as a refugee in 1949, and in which he later founded the New American Cinema Group and the Anthology Film Archives in the 60s and 70s.
Mekas redefines the commercial spaces of the Missoni Boutique with a series of cinematographic works and photographs that unite to compose an anthem which is both fragmented and striking. The show opens with a double-screen video installation visible from the shop windows directly facing the street which will run both day and night. Images delicately scroll across the screens in the light of day, becoming more and more vivid as night begins to fall. It’s as if the images are living the life of a Moonflower, peaking and blooming most strikingly in the evening hours. The spectator can indulge in the colors of New York through a series of original montages that mark and celebrate the seasonal cycles of the metropolis. Eras and personalities, recognizable to a greater or lesser degree, appear together in a collage of fixed and moving images. Moments, seasons, and time, become the focus along one singular cinematographic horizon.
The projections continue on the 2nd floor in the showroom where a special version of Walden, Mekas’ film manifesto, is shown. This cinematic diary, shot on a Bolex throughout the 60s, is projected on two screens, recomposing and splitting the original montage into two streams.
The relationship between cinema and nature, or rather between life and storytelling, becomes the recurring theme that runs through Mekas’ transformation of the Missoni boutique space. Lightboxes showcase close-up images of various flowers, stills taken from films shot by Mekas over his sixty-year career. Each still has been reproduced on a large scale, reversing the ratio between humans and vegetation; they also capture the spontaneous germinations of flora in the middle of the New York metropolis: a concrete symbol of a delicate, albeit miraculous, sense of élan. Through Mekas’ redefining of the space, the artists’ dreams become a visual reality.
Last night I had an ecstatic dream.
suddenly before my eyes appeared fields and fields of wild flowers. They were passing by my eyes. Field after field, the meadows full of flowers in the most exquisite colors: blue, yellow, red, purple and they were all so real. I could almost smell them, like in my childhood.
I told this dream to August this morning. So she said, you know, this dream tells you that your previous life you were a bee. Yes, I said, it must be so. I always liked flowers, I always gathered them as a child for the healing woman of my village. She trusted only me. I knew all the flowers of our village and the neighboring villages too. So you may be right. I always had a very personal relationship with flowers.
(Entry from Jonas Mekas’ diary. October 9 1997)