Joy Miessi's new solo show looks at dreams as “memories of things that haven’t happened”

24 July 2019

Primary colours have always played a major role in the portfolio of London-based artist Joy Miessi. “I like that they are the foundation behind every colour we know and that it also makes up the Congolese flag,” Joy tells It’s Nice That. For their solo show opening today, 24 July at Beers London, these signature colours continue to unify Joy’s individual works in an exploration of dreams, memories and the relationship between the two.

Throughout the works, which were created over the past year alongside myriad other projects, blue, in particular plays a significant role. Whereas it’s a colour often associated with sorrow or melancholy the exhibition, which takes its name from a title work Blue Glass Fortunes, sees the shade taking on new associations: “not only sadness, but blue as love, blue as dreaming and blue as feeling free,” Joy explains.

Providing the foundation for the entire show, the title piece visualises a dream Joy once had: “I was in a ballroom dancing freely and I remember noticing that everything was in black and white except from these large blue goblets around the room which were releasing light… Each glass revealed faces with its light. The painting captures the scene, the freedom of queer expression within this dimly lit space and was the beginning of this dream series.”


Joy Miessi: Twice

In turn, every painting in Blue Glass Fortunes visualises a dream of Joy’s, revealing subconscious anxieties, hopes and desires through paint on canvas. “Though some of these dreams appear completely unrealistic, they are shaped by reality; the environment I’m in, influenced by the media I consume, politics, interactions etc. What I’ve been interested in is holding onto these dreams and trying to decipher them,” Joy explains. By recording their thoughts when they wake up, the resulting scenes in Blue Glass Fortunes contemplate the concept that dreams “are memories of things that haven’t happened.” It’s a notion which, when understood, gives the works a feeling of deja vu – they are at once familiar and obscure.

Whether depicting someone on a motorcycle clad in a cowboy hat, or a face reflected in a mirror asking “Do you know who you see?”, Joy’s works are reflective and representative of their wider practice translating everyday moments through a (whether intentional or not) sociopolitical lens. The exhibition is part of a wider show by Beers London called the Summer Marathon and Joy is one of seven artists given back­-to­-back solo exhibitions. As a result, Blue Glass Fortunes is on show from this evening (24 July) to 28 July.

On what they’re planning next, Joy tells us: “I’ve been working on a few exciting projects that I’m excited to share later this year, aside from that I’ve been brushing up on my sewing skills and incorporating fabrics and textures into my personal work. I hope that I’ll be able to keep creating and working towards the opportunity of exhibiting my work in new places.”


Joy Miessi: White Bind


Joy Miessi: Sunrise We’ll Be Ok


Joy Miessi: The Glass That Doesn’t Fit in the Dishwasher


Joy Miessi: Phantasm – The American in the Middle


Joy Miessi: Empathy


Joy Miessi: Blue Glass Fortunes


Joy Miessi: Scooter


Joy Miessi: Awareness

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About the Author

Ruby Boddington

Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.

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