Forest City Gallery
September 7 – October 11, 2018
By Adi Berardini
Photo documentation by Laura Findlay.
When green is mentioned, many thoughts arise—Green gardens, greenwashing, environmentalism, even vomit. In Jasmine Reimer’s installation, Of, In or Under, different shades and textures of green emerge, creating a surreal scene. With green fences stacked on one another to create an encapsulating structure, rough green hands, Perrier bottles, and a green fire pit, there’s no shortage of the colour.
While walking through the structure, it feels like you’ve landed on a different planet, surrounded by a myriad of items that seem vaguely familiar yet somehow out of place. Uncanny pillars sprout monsteras and human feet. Cacti converge into a hand, and across the structure, ropes are held in green plastic bags. Abject owls stalk you with nearby feathers slicked down. Manufactured makeup sits on a shelf and acid green tissues disperse from the upright logs. Below the snails carefully placed in rows, glass fish are spotted swimming. A pale green mesh bridges the gaps in the fence-like structure, the shades of green ranging from pastel, lime, and deep forest green.
Like language, the cave and its elements are constantly shifting. The signifiers seemed jumbled yet carefully organized, with pieces lined up like trophies on a shelf. They relate to each other in a different way than the outside world in which we occupy. The multiple parts are in conversation with each other in a language we are not able to completely understand. Connecting the surreal and the fabricated, strange rituals make up this universe, perhaps ones that are not familiar to the world as we know it.
This immersive installation reflects on the touch of humans, and how we seem obsessed with modifying the environment we occupy. Although this installation doesn’t explore environmentalism explicitly—it dives deeper into the subconscious, referring to the peculiar nature of dreams. The unnatural human-made elements collide with reference to the outdoors. While parts seem to reference change, like the fingers growing from the dirt, aspects of this environment stand frozen in time like constricted birds. This world seems obsessive about the fake and manufactured, paralleled to the Anthropocene era we live in today. In this world, time and space relate to each other in a different way.
In An Etymology of Things by writer Hiba Abdallah, a text in response to the exhibition, language is lent to help “circumnavigate” the space. There is mention of the “Nartificial: made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally. Copying nature until the lines become blurred between what is artificial and what is organic.” Although this universe is completely fabricated, the reference to the human body through hands and fingers are apparent and the personification of objects is implied. The body finds itself interpreting where it belongs in reference to its many components. Moreover, it feels as if there is a greater reference to how we relate to a world where the environment is increasingly adapted and materialized to meet human needs. The line between what is naturally occurring and what’s fabricated becomes blurred.
Green was everywhere before advertising was, before this artificial world that humans built.
There’s reference to performance, using formal elements from the types of objects you might find at a garage sale. This work has a feeling of a retro television set and the objects are actors on their set stage. If you’re quiet, perhaps you can hear the birds whispering. The installation also uses the framework of a set, and there’s a further link to theatricality since Chloe Lum and Yannick Desranleau, Xuan Yu, and Patrick Cruz performed their interpretations of the work through performance art and music. This space is used as a platform for other happenings to occur.
When people think of the feminine, they tend to think of pink. Why doesn’t green come to mind? Pink has always seemed like an artificial colour; too soft to be truly feminine to me. Green is growth and enrichment. It’s earthly, verdurous and viridescent. Oscillating between blue and yellow on the spectrum, green is a complex colour since, like this installation, it’s comprised of different parts. I was most fascinated while mixing greens when I worked in a commercial paint store since all the greens were the most loaded with pigment. Rich and layered, an earth without green is no earth at all. Green can be unpleasant, yet it can be sublimely peaceful. Like this installation, femininity is a performance that falls under a spectrum as wide as green. Femininity is multi-dimensional, just like green.
The essence of green used to artificially label something is highlighted in this installation. Green, with all its vibrant associations, is appropriated often. It’s appropriated for consumerism as a label slapped on cleaning products, which may, in fact, be worse for the environment. It can even be appropriated for mass-scale government energy projects to get the vote and reassurance. But deep down, green is a colour that appears naturally through photosynthesis and chlorophyll. Green was everywhere before advertising was, before this artificial world that humans built. Green in its natural state is left alone to grow and not used as a sales tactic. Green is all about naturally occurring relationships—the sky and the sun all feed the colour green. This installation is truly ironic, yet successful in its juxtaposition since it makes you wonder what green signifies in a society seemingly growing farther away from it.