Jesse Jones is a highly acclaimed young Irish artist, whose work is increasingly well known across Europe. Jones’s practice focuses on the embedded political and social histories that are present within everyday life.
She is interested in the moments when this hidden history comes to the surface, such as the demonstration or strike, and in moments of convergence. Seeing popular culture as an expression of this collective narrative of history, her work often adopts elements such as the B movie or pop music as a site of shared memory.
Jones' work Mahogany premiered at the Istanbul Biennial in 2009 and was filmed during Jones' residency at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces. With this film Jones became interested in the idea of a ‘Paradise City’, or aspired for utopia. Bertolt Brecht’s 1927 play "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany” epitomises this notion, drawing on ideas of political ideologies and their spectral residues within history. Described by The Guardian UK as “a masterful rejigging of Bertolt Brecht’s bitter fable about the fall of a city dedicated to pleasure…” Mahogany is an important contribution to discussions of alienation in the face of utopian aspirations.
Using Brecht’s mode of distanciation, Mahogany was presented as a non-place that can be read as a critique of present political conditions. Mahogany - in both the play and the film, is a town embedded with metaphorical associations to ideas of post utopia. It questions ideas of convergence and the systemic injustices inherent in capitalism as well as the possibilities of its collapse.