Prada Celebrates Miranda July In Milan And Tokyo

Prada Celebrates Miranda July In Milan And Tokyo

Miranda July is an American filmmaker, artist, singer and writer who was raised in Berkeley and currently lives in Los Angeles. In 1996 a series of shorts, titled Joanie4Jackie, initiated her directorial career that reached its peak in 2005 with the independent film Me and You and Everyone We Know. July also starred in this film, which won the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Special Jury Prize at Sundance. Filmmaker Magazine ranked her first among the “25 New Faces of Indie Cinema” in 2004. Her body of work includes film, fiction, monologue, digital presentations and live performance art.

The Prada Foundation — that is always at the forefront of inspiring exhibitions — is celebrating the eclectic creativity of this multi-hyphenated artist. In fact, on March 7th the Osservatorio Fondazione Prada in Milan inaugurated the first museum exhibition dedicated to her work, Miranda July: New Society, running until October 14th. Another exhibition that celebrates the versatile artist arrives in the Land of the Rising Sun at Prada Aoyama in Tokyo, Miranda July: F.A.M.I.L.Y. (Falling Apart Meanwhile I Love You), that will run from May 9th until August 26th. The fifth floor of the building designed by Herzog & de Meuron hosts Miranda July’s first solo show in the Japanese capital, realised in conjunction with her first solo museum exhibition in Italy.

Prada Aoyama
Courtesy: Fondazione Prada

Thanks to the exhibition, curated by Mia Locks, visitors can immerse themselves into three decades of July’s career, from the early 1990s until today, through short films, performances, installation works and the debut of F.A.M.I.L.Y. (Falling Apart Meanwhile I Love You). This video installation — first shown in Milan’s exhibition — gives the name to Tokyo’s show and it features a multi-channel video installation based on a collaboration with seven strangers via Instagram, that took place between 2020 and 2024.

July gave them a series of instructions such as “challenge me on a physical and intimate level” or “create confusing and less human shapes with your body.” The participants then sent their videos and July brought them together virtually in her studio, using a free editing app designed for social-media content, used by her teenage son to communicate through TikTok. Subsequently, the work of the sound designer with whom July collaborates for her films was added. The auditory effect — paired with the succession of hypnagogic presences, where different bodies merge with intimate and original results — enhances the feeling of uncanniness.

Exhibition view of “Miranda July: New Society” Osservatorio Fondazione Prada, Milan
Photo: Valentina Sommariva
Courtesy: Fondazione Prada

The mechanism of validation people seek on social media becomes an object of the artistic inquiry of Miranda July. As she explained: “With F.A.M.I.L.Y. (Falling Apart Meanwhile I Love You), I am trying to manually, laboriously fulfill what I see as one promise of Instagram: to be looked at so lovingly that we finally feel okay.” The result is a series of surreal performances in which July and her participants explore intimacy and boundaries through a completely new physical language. As curator Mia Locks elucidated, “This is July’s preferred mode of working: she initiates, and controls to some degree, an exchange but also welcomes other people’s desires and actions within it. She is experimenting with sharing power and control in a playful way.

Miranda July
July, @craigmontyjames (C.M. James), @donaldklee (Donald Lee), and @goatzfoot (Lisa Ziegenfuss) in F.A.M.I.L.Y. Boombox, 2024
Still from video
Courtesy of Miranda July Studio

The Milan and Tokyo projects are accompanied by an illustrated publication of the Quaderni series, published by Fondazione Prada. It features a conversation between Miranda July and Cindy Sherman and an essay by exhibition curator Mia Locks. Both shows celebrate the investigation of Miranda July who, endowed with Kafkaesque grace, expounds upon political-social-artistic structures. As the curator underlined, “July’s work examines a range of human relationships and forms of intimacy. Her questioning of established hierarchies and normative power dynamics is a distinctly feminist position that spans across the various media she has used in her career.

For those who are in Tokyo on July 17th, a conversation between artist Miranda July and curator Mia Locks will occur at Prada Aoyama, which will allow further insight into the visionary process of the artist.

Cover Photo by Valentina Sommariva (Courtesy: Fondazione Prada) Miranda July and Mia Locks at Osservatorio Fondazione Prada.

Check out more of Chiara’s articles.

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