Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski: Said the Rainbow to the Grave
Luce Gallery, Turin, Italy 29 Oct 2020 - 04 Dec 2020
Exhibition view, Said the Rainbow to the Grave, Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski’ solo show, Luce Gallery, Turin, 2020, Photo Andrea Ferrari, Courtesy the artist and Luce Gallery
Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski concentrates on what we can feel but cannot see. Metallic iridescence and neon colors shimmer, illuminating a blueprint for survival that breathes life into ancient mythologies.
Said the Rainbow to the Grave examines and alters our baseline, our symbols for what it means to be human. The rainbow is urgent, calling back to Taino stories of recognition and retribution. The story demands to be named. The ghosts are fleshy and autonomous, speaking to the unspeakable that is also the end.
From mountains and moons to roses and reflections of light, DeJesus Moleski contemplates the rainbow as a bridge between legacy, land, and the spiritual plane. She has painstakingly conjured a language of ghosts and inheritance, reminding us that creation is much slower than consumption. Her work folds time and curation into transmutation and growth. Cultivating these narratives is a radical act.
Fire crackles and stories are reborn, rooting us. DeJesus Moleski connects back to a lineage that whispers, until it shouts in saturated color; What if we survive? Hear the swoosh of the basketball, squeaking sneakers, the creak of bones like a forest of trees.
Roses grow among the thorns. Eyes witness and ears absorb.
The bones are sacred and supreme sacrifice winds between the ample flesh of figures. DeJesus Moleski boldly prompts us to be in the practice of re-imagining what has been lost in the face of constant gendering and racialization by the colonizer gaze. Here is unapologetic queerness; femme bodies are collectivized origins, are what we must make into home, a portal that we must call home, even when we crave something more, something whose name has been lost and the unameable haunts us.
Fantasy and spirituality are used as a grounding force as life and death riot across each image. Through color and symbol, Moleski reminds us that the Caribbean, particularly the island of Puerto Rico has survived. It is more than a receptacle of people’s pleasure, more than a mutation of joy and flamboyance; it is a place that is also of the middle passage, of plunder and grief and erasure. Her work records real histories through fantastical elements where the mundane and profound occur all at once; the breath before the storm and the storm itself. Destruction and demise are present, married always to spirit.
This is what a storm feels like from the inside. Rain drops fall like nails clacking against one another. The goddess of the skies is moving fast and feeling herself, twerking and stretching and sighing, letting her hair guide the shift of her hips. No wonder a good-ass thunderstorm feels like a reckoning, like a washing new and clean, like freedom from the inside out.
Every cell in this body is listening, listening, listening. Is straining to be heard when all every follicle can do is listen. Say home. Say tired. Say grace.
Femme Genesis holds its breath.
The day comes.