Microscope is very pleased to present an evening of 16mm films by Jennifer Reeves spanning two and a half decades from her first film “Elations in Negative” (1990) to her latest “Color Neutral” (2014), including the rarely shown dual superimposition projection work “He Walked Away” (2006).
The Sri Lanka-born, New York based artist's works have shown extensively worldwide - including at MoMA and The Whitney Museum of American Art as well as at major film festivals including Sundance, Berlin, London, Toronto and others - however rarely have they been grouped in more concentrated programs that offer the chance to get a better sense of the breath and trajectory of the artist’s work over time.
Reeves’ body of work may be divided into two seemingly distinct and unrelated thematics. Many of the earlier works are very personal, anecdotal and even narrative, relating to the artist’s interest in the body, her own as well as others and as affected by external factors such as early traumas and addressing themes ranging from gender and sexuality in youth, memory, feminism, and mental health. Perhaps one of the harshest, most timely and symbolically relevant of these works is her 1992 “Girls daydream about Hollywood”, in which a girl’s dream of becoming a movie star is torn to pieces by sexual abuse and the realization of herself as nothing but a disposable body.
Other works as “Fear of Blushing” (2001) and “Color Neutral” (2014) are more formal, abstract and interested in the materiality of the film itself. Among this group of works are animations and others made by directly altering the physical film itself through hand-painting, hand-processing, burial, and erosion of the filmstrip’s emulsion, among others.
Reeves will be in attendance and available for a Q&A following the screening.
Jennifer Reeves (b. 1971, Sri Lanka) is a New York-based film artist who has been making 16mm films since 1990. Her films have shown extensively, from the Berlin, London, Sundance, and Hong Kong Film Festivals to many MicroCinemas in the US and Canada, the Robert Flaherty Seminar, and the Museum of Modern Art. Multi-screening retrospectives of her work have been held at Era New Horizons Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, Kino Arsenal in Berlin, Anthology Film Archives in New York, and San Francisco Cinematheque. In November 2018, she will be presenting a full retrospective of her work in Vilnius, Lithuania. Reeves was named one of the “Best 50 Filmmakers Under 50” in the film journal Cinema Scope.
Since 2003 Reeves has worked with some of the finest composer/ performers, including Marc Ribot, Skúli Sverrisson, Elliott Sharp, Zeena Parkins, Anthony Burr and Eyvind Kang. As the daughter of a trumpeter, gravitating toward film and music collaborations was quite natural for Reeves. Her most ambitious film and music performance, the feature-length double-projection WHEN IT WAS BLUE (2008), premiered at Toronto International Film Festival with live music by composer/collaborator Skúli Sverrisson. Her multiple-projection films with live music have been performed internationally, from the Sydney Opera House and the Berlinale to RedCat in Los Angeles and the Wexner Center in Ohio.
Reeves and Composer/Performer Marc Ribot premiered their film/live music collaboration at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York. Ribot and Ikue Mori perform a live score to Reeves' SHADOWS CHOOSE THEIR HORRORS, LANDFILL 16, and HE WALKED AWAY. Ribot has performed the program internationally at a variety of venues, most recently at The Drawing Center (The Stone series) and at The New School in 2018.
Reeves has also made a number of experimental narratives, including her highly acclaimed feature THE TIME WE KILLED, which won the FIPRESCI International Critic’s Prize at the Berlin Film Festival and several other awards. The 2005 Village Voice Film Critic’s poll honored THE TIME WE KILLED with votes from six film critics for categories including: Best Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Performance. It was also nominated for an Independent Spirit award.
Reeves is currently editing an experimental essay-documentary mini-series call CELIA, DID YOU KNOW, funded by the Princess Grace Foundation. She shot the primary footage in Cuba in 1996, 2017 and 2018, and in New York in the 1990s.