Martin van Zomeren is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in the Netherlands of the Greek artist Janis Rafa (Athens, 1984), currently residing at the Rijksakademie.
Rafa’s films and videos balance between an empirical perception of landscapes and events and an authentic representation of them. Her narratives are located at the margins of the urban, haunted by lifeless birds, stray dogs, roadkills, fatal accidents and dissipated death. The cryptic and universal nature of these cinematic worlds is initiated by a certain realism that has very little to do with its usual representation. Dead and living, human and non-human coexist in an accord of dream and sensuality. In ‘A Sign of Prosperity to the Dreamer’, a series of underground explosions relocate shot flock of birds up to the sky, in an uncanny celebratory moment of the dead nonhuman body.
Rafa’s practice is based on in-situ investigations of her own and others’ experiences of space, using video as primary medium to record and later recast first encounters into carefully choreographed sets. ‘Seasons’ and ‘8 Kilos of Garden’ are artifacts of these investigations that have taken the form of an installation instead of a moving image narrative. Here, the notion of space does not concern the distant (as in the history of documentary) but the local, which can be unknown, invisible, marginal or buried in the city’s infrastructure.