Janis Rafa, Lacerate, 2020. Film still / Courtesy the artist, Fondazione In Between Art Film © Janis Rafa
Janis Rafa: Feed me. Cheat me. Eat me.
Oct 14, 2023 – Jan 7, 2024
Eye Filmmuseum
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Eye Filmmuseum presents a solo exhibition by artist and filmmaker Janis Rafa. Spoken language rarely features in her evocative films and video installations; she focuses instead on the silent presence of non-humans, allowing them to become the leading force within her poetic compositions. Her narratives emphasise animalistic instincts, untamed behaviours and inabilities to coexist, alongside human fears, expectations and failure.

Rafa’s visual language is filmic and seductive. Yet her work is disquieting: it prompts the viewer to consider pressing questions, such as how humans relate to one another and to the world around them. Her latest works – which premieres at Eye – focus on the tension between care for and exploitation of animals and landscapes, through human inventions and desires.

Rafa’s new work verges on playful eroticism and physical contact, through wordplay and the re-appropriation of utilitarian objects designed to restrain animals. The exhibition title,  Janis Rafa: Feed me. Cheat me. Eat me.  encapsulates the underlying sense of melancholia and whimsicalness that is evident throughout her oeuvre.

Rafa’s subjects are positioned within unusual cinematographic compositions that blend the fictional with the mundane. In these timeless spaces, she highlights structures of power, domination and control. The locations she chooses lie on the urban fringes, post-industrial sites, abandoned buildings and decaying agricultural landscapes. Among the ruins of these worlds, she explores themes such as affection for the non-human body, interspecies relations and dealing with loss. Her work forms a wordless ode to stray and domesticated dogs, roadkill, hunted prey, animals in factory farming and other victims of late-capitalist society.

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