Tramas is Jessica Mein's second solo show at Galeria Leme. The artist presents wall-based works and spatial structures. With this new body of work, Mein deepens her research on the physicality and spatiality of images and further subverts the boundaries and hierarchies between image and the support that sustains it, surface and structure.
Mein's work focuses on the increasingly obsolete visual materials from Dubai and São Paulo, which are being substituted by high-tech alternatives. Her fascination with the nearly extinct billboard structures and papers in São Paulo, as well as the hand printed hemp bags found in dry-goods markets around Dubai, is rooted in an investigation of the systems of production and dissemination of images throughout the urban space, and our consequent mental and physical relation to these processes and products.
As a contrast to the overwhelming ease and speed images are produced and circulated nowadays, Mein's physical interventions are highly laborious, slow and complex.
Mein combines billboard fragments, originally discarded due to printing errors, with the manual imprints from the hemp bags that are generally used to transport rice. The artist uses the hemp as a source of imagery, surface and support for her works. A new image is then superimposed to the one that previously existed on the hemp bag. She also scans sections of hemp bags and transfers them as images onto blank hemp. She then unthreads, rips and cuts the material, in a manual process that is inevitably doomed to errors and imperfections. By doing this, the artist simultaneously reveals the constitution of the fabric, decomposing it to its threads and fibers, and also exposes the structure sustaining the work, showing the wooden frames behind the hemp.
This inversion between structural backstage and image is taken further with a group of freestanding wooden installations that are spread around the exhibition space physically confronting the viewer with their size and scale. The formal qualities of these quasi-architectural constructions simultaneously echo the works on the walls, as well as the precarious urban structures that hold up large images. Here, the support elements become as important as the de-constructed images.
In a constant oscillation between construction and the subsequent sabotage of her own works, Jessica Mein's exploration ranges from the micro-scale of the hemp's fibers to the macro scale of the spatial structures reminiscent of the billboards placards. By altering and experimenting with her works to their most basic architectures, the artist questions the authority of the image as the all-encompassing contemporary commodity.
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, 1975. Lives and works in Dubai, where she is currently a resident artist in the A.i.R. program run by Art Dubai, Delfina Foundation, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Tashkeel.
Among her solo exhibitions are: Obras, Simon Preston, New York; The Pavilion Downtown, Dubai. As well as the group shows: The Street Files Biennial, Museo del Barrio, New York; The Julia Stoschek Foundation, Dusseldorf; Wellin Museum, Hamilton College, New York; Museo Tamayo de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico; Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai; Drawing Center, New York; New York University, Abu Dhabi; Harvard University, Cambridge, USA.
Her work is included in collections at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Julia Stoschek Foundation, Dusseldorf; and Museu de Arte Contemporânea, São Paulo.