REMNANTS by Melissa Kreider

REMNANTS by Melissa Kreider

November 8 – December 5, 2017

Student Curators: Gallery Exhibition and Curating EL Students


Faculty Coordinator: Gianni Rossiello

About the Exhibition:

Kreider’s exhibition is a series of photographs which are an investigation in the realities of domestic and sexual assault. This topic is explored through thought-provoking images of rural United States, depicting sites of sexual and domestic assault, the sexual assault evidence collection kits, the backlog of rape kits in police evidence rooms, the crime labs, and images of the survivors themselves.

She photographed all these elements in a documentary manner, showing houses appearing as normal and quiet, that take a troubling aspect when you read the captions and realize they were in fact a place of danger and violence.

Melissa Kreider received a  BFA in Photography from the University of Akron and is currently an MFA student at the University of Iowa.  She is also a former student of Florence University of the Arts, where she took photography classes her freshman year of college. Her work has been published nationally and internationally.

Kreider has considered the the idea of her Remnants project since her undergraduate work as she feels a very personal connection to the subject matter after her own experience with sexual assault. She began to tirelessly work on the photo series beginning in the Summer of 2015. The artist worked incredibly hard, spending almost a year sending emails to different people involved in different aspects of a sexual assault, its reporting, investigation, and prosecution in order to take the photographs she needed. She overcame obstacles such as finding survivors willing to be photographed and convincing police headquarters to allow her access to the evidence rooms. At one point,  Kreider was sending twenty-five emails a day to police headquarters across the United States, in hopes of being granted access to photograph. She was even removed from the Iowa City Police Department. Along with logistical problems, Kreider discovered ethical dilemmas along the way. She overcame and revised her artistic practice in order to approach this difficult subject matter while still giving survivors the privacy they deserve.

Thus far pleased with the reactions to her Remnants project, Kreider feels it has opened the door to many good conversations. She hopes people will begin to understand what victims of domestic or sexual abuse have been through. She also hopes that through her work others may see that survivors remained in situations of domestic abuse for financial reasons or because they have children, or the believe the abuser will change.

Kreider is particularly excited that Remnants will be opening here in Italy in order to continue this work with Italian police system. As this is already a hot button issue with the recent event regarding the Florentine Police, she believes it could spark some productive conversation around the issue. She will have the opportunity to continue her research at the University of Bologna this month and plans to continue this project through exploration of the Italian system of dealing with sexual assault.

Kreider hopes that Remnants can serve as an eye-opener to viewers. She states, “even if it sparks one productive conversation between people, that’s what I want. I’m not trying to save the world.”

See the catalog here.