Missoni Unveils Latest Surface Conversion Series with Filmmaker Jonas Mekas

Missoni Unveils Latest Surface Conversion Series with Filmmaker Jonas Mekas

Angela Missoni and Jonas Mekas talk to V about their collaboration for the latest “Surface Conversion,” installing film clips by Mekas throughout the Madison Avenue Missoni store.

Angela Missoni and Jonas Mekas talk to V about their collaboration for the latest “Surface Conversion,” installing film clips by Mekas throughout the Madison Avenue Missoni store.

Text: Christina Cacouris

Jonas Mekas’s tender visions of life, first widely documented in his 2000 experimental film diary As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty, are now landing at the Missoni boutique on Madison Avenue. The installation is the third in a series entitled “Surface Conversion,” launched by creative director Angela Missoni, a transformative project that literally converts the boutique’s space into an art gallery, currently filling the space with light boxes showcasing film stills from Mekas interwoven between the racks of clothing, as well as two projections of short films shot in Mekas's traditional montage style.

"He talks a language that I'm very close to," says Angela Missoni about Mekas and his work. "He talks about home. He's a refugee, [and] my father was a refugee from WWII. So there are a few things that we have in common. I like the optimistic way he looks at works, showing you only what is good in life, what gives you an emotion. This is my point of view! I’m always somebody positive, I’m always looking at something in a positive way, and I’m an observer of nature and a very curious person, I’m curious of people, of cities."

Curator duo Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, who first met Mekas during the Venice Biennale of 2015, said they initially approached Mekas about collaborating with Missoni: "We wanted to associate Jonas’s cinema of life with a normal place," says Francesco. "We are in a shop where everyone can enter, and there is life. And so images and films can live with the life of the city. Jonas decided to dedicate this show to the city of New York, the city that welcomed him as a refugee in 1949, and he often says that New York saved his life and started his pursuit of happiness here."

"I like new and unpredictable situations, so immediately I said yes," says Mekas. The themes of the films screened—spring and summer, autumn and winter—are parallels to that of fashion's usual circuit. "I [also] decided to do flowers because they talk directly to you," he added. "We forget in New York there are four seasons in the year. And there are more flowers in New York than we think; there is still nature around us."

The concept and title—Blue, Yellow, Red, Purple—was derived from a dream Mekas had 20 years ago (coinciding with her 20th anniversary as Creative Director that Angela is celebrating in tandem with the exhibition) about fields of flowers, which he recorded in a diary:

Last night I had an ecstatic dream.

Suddenly before my eyes appeared fields and fields of wild flowers. They were passing by my eyes. Field after field, the meadows full of flowers in the most exquisite colors: blue, yellow, red, purple and they were all so real. I could almost smell them, like in my childhood.

I told this dream to Auguste this morning. So he said, you know, this dream tells you that in your previous life you were a bee. Yes, I said, it must be so. I always liked flowers, I always gathered them as a child for the healing woman of my village. She trusted only me. I knew all the flowers of our village and the neighboring villages too. So you may be right. I always had a very personal relationship with flowers.

Entry from Jonas Mekas’ diary. October 9 1997.

Click through the slideshow below to see images of the event and of Mekas's installations. "Jonas Mekas: Blue, Yellow, Red, Purple" is on view at the Missoni Boutique at 1009 Madison Avenue until January 31, 2018.

Rosita Missoni, Jonas Mekas, Angela Missoni
Credits: RECEPTION IMAGES COURTESY OF BFA, INSTALLATION IMAGES COURTESY OF STEPHANIE HEDGES

UP NEXT

Plus-Size Fashion Has Been on the Back Burner for Too Long