Exhibition

STEFFANI JEMISON

Bound

8th Floor

Steffani Jemison
Same Time, 2024
Decommissioned canvas backdrop, HD video, color, sound
219 x 478 x 106 1/2 inches (556 x 1214 x 271 cm)

Steffani Jemison, Same Time, 2024 (side)

Bodies in motion form the propulsive core of Steffani Jemison’s practice, which she describes as a melding of kinetic and literary disciplines into works of density and unbearable lightness. Bound, her second exhibition at Greene Naftali, draws on motifs of the limitless sky and the broader impulse to take to the air, extending her interest in legacies of dispersal and fugitivity in Black cultural traditions. Jemison’s work across media has long been concerned with the weight of both physical and social forces, but here defying the gravitational pull is consonant with surrendering to it, envisioning new possibilities for liberation in both suspension and descent.

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Steffani Jemison
Bound, 2024
HD video, color, sound
20:22 min.
Edition of 3, +2APs

Steffani Jemison
Untitled (Bound)
, 2024
Found silvered glass, metal hardware, acrylic
16 x 14 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches (41 x 37 x 9 cm)

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Bound), 2024

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Bound), 2024 (detail)

Steffani Jemison
Untitled (Bound), 2024
Found silvered glass, metal hardware, acrylic
50 1/4 x 16 3/4 x 3 1/2 inches (128 x 43 x 9 cm)

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Bound), 2024 (detail)

Steffani Jemison
Untitled (Projection)
, 2024
Galvanized steel, brass pole, metal hardware, found
silvered glass, acrylic
108 1/2 x 150 1/2 x 115 1/2 inches (276 x 382 x 293 cm)

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Projection), 2024 (detail)

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Projection), 2024 (detail)

Steffani Jemison, Installation view, Bound, Greene Naftali, New York, 2024

Steffani Jemison
Untitled (Bound)
, 2024
Found silvered glass, metal hardware, acrylic
29 1/2 x 46 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches (75 x 118 x 9 cm)

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Bound), 2024 (detail)

Steffani Jemison
Untitled (Bound)
, 2024
Found silvered glass, metal hardware, acrylic
29 1/2 x 46 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches (75 x 118 x 9 cm)

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Bound), 2024 (detail)

Steffani Jemison
Untitled (Projection)
, 2024
Galvanized steel, brass pole, metal hardware, found silvered glass, acrylic
108 x 152 1/2 x 42 1/2 inches (274 x 387 x 108 cm)

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Projection), 2024 (detail)

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Projection), 2024 (detail)

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Projection), 2024 (detail)

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Projection), 2024 (detail)

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Projection), 2024 (detail)

Perhaps best-known for her hypnotic video portrayals of highly skilled performers, Jemison considers the physical exploits of Chicago-based tumblers who twist, leap, and vault themselves into the air in her latest moving image work. The film lingers on their suspension, often cutting to images of a vast sky overlayed with the distorted logo of the country’s largest trampoline company, SkyBound, wading in its contradictory intimations and lexical possibilities. Narrations from two tumblers envisioning the experience of flying and a feverish, improvised soundtrack by drummer Brandon “Buz” Donald, embody the kind of heedless freedom suggested by flight, enunciated by the lush strokes of the night sky from a found theatrical backdrop against which the film is framed.

Steffani Jemison
Untitled (Projection)
, 2024
Found silvered glass, acrylic
Total Dims: 28 x 87 x 74 1/2 inches (71 x 221 x 189 cm)
28 x 23 x 8 1/2 inches (71 x 58 x 22 cm) each

Steffani Jemison, Untitled (Projection), 2024 (detail)

Steffani Jemison, Installation view, Bound, Greene Naftali, New York, 2024

The bodily transgressions performed by the film’s tumblers are further distilled by pipe-and-fitting sculptures that resemble a jungle gym. Hinged to the sculptures and situated across the gallery are drawings on mirrored glass that evoke Jemison’s own archives and art historical references, including canonical sources inspired by the myth of Icarus. Here, the story of Icarus, which begins with an incarcerated father and son, dovetails with a wider meditation on an experience of transgression, or as Jemison has argued, “to the tantalizing possibility of escape, individual and collective.” In Jemison’s retelling, the fall of Icarus is interpreted not only through the lens of failure, but also freedom: “The knowledge that sweet release, albeit temporary, feels worth almost any risk."

Steffani Jemison, Installation view, Bound, Greene Naftali, New York, 2024

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