Straitjacket, Curly Hair

  • (Exhibition)
  • (Information)
Jessica Sofia Mitrani
29 May 2014 - 07 Jun 2014

DSC 9123 KopieDSC 9126 KopieDSC 9129 KopieDSC 9136DSC 9138DSC 9139DSC 9141DSC 9144DSC 9145DSC 9149 KopieDSC 9150 KopieDSC 9151 KopieDSC 9154 KopieDSC 9156 KopieDSC 9161 KopieDSC 9162 KopieDSC 9168 KopieDSC 9175 KopieDSC 9176DSC 9180DSC 9182

Lost in thought, I remain stretched on a bed, the bed in which I can write and draw and dream, when suddenly the inside of my body gives clear answers to the questions I ask myself. I hear the voice of a poet I know and admire! He recites from the depths of my own belly! And suddenly as if in greeting, this poet’s long familiar nose appears on my pillow.

 —Unica Zürn, The Man of Jasmine


The bed is where life begins and where it ends. Between these two points, it is the site of dreams, of sex, of illness, and of madness. Over the past decade, the bed has frequently appeared in the work of artist Jessica Mitrani, from the pathologized bed in the performance Some Historic, Some Hysteric (2004) to the foldable trunk bed that doubles as a mobile home for the Traveling Lady (2014).

Mitrani continues this theme in the present exhibition. Projected in the gallery’s back room, La Divanee (2013) is based on the true story of the Catalan countess of Güell, Palomba Matas Mujika de Pumeral y Santiago, who reclined on a chaise lounge at the age of eighteen with the intention of never standing up again. Yet from this position she leads a full life: She writes novels, holds salons, takes lovers, and gives birth to a child. Instead of being marginalized—or objectified like the art-historical nudes she resembles—she forms a new focal point around which society revolves.

The potential stricture of the bed is apparent in Mitrani’s “Conjoined Pillows” (2014), a series of three sculptures on display in the front room of the gallery. Stiff plaster pillows are crudely sutured together with wire: two lying in a matrimonial bed; eight bunked in a dormitory, orphanage, or nunnery. The spell of these coldly identical works is broken, however, by a second series of three, titled “My Favorite Poets’ Noses.” From each of these pillows sprouts a poetic proboscis: that of a pig, a liar, and a fool.


About the Artist:

Colombian-born, New York–based artist Jessica Mitrani works in multiple media, from performance and sculpture to film and video. Employing narrative, humor, and psychoanalytic tropes, she investigates the social and aesthetic construction of femininity and how it shapes identity. Mitrani’s work has been exhibited at the Jeu de Paume, Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; White Columns, New York; FIAF, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Bogotá; and MACRO Museum, Rome, among numerous other venues. Her films have been screened in film festivals such as 47 International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen Germany. In 2012, Mitrani’s video Headpieces for Peace won the Grand Prix at the ASVOFF5 Festival, at Centre Pompidou. This year, she received a grant from the Hermès Foundation toward the production of a new performance, Traveling Lady, which will be presented this fall at the Crossing the Line festival at FIAF, New York and at the Théâtre de la Cité, Paris.

Go back