Joan Jonas, five works, exh. cat., Queens Musuem of Art, New York (14 December 2003 – 14 March 2004), New York, Queens Museum of Art, 2003→
Morgan Susan, Joan Jonas I want to live in the country (and other romances), London, Afterall Books, 2006→
In the shadow a shadow : the work of Joan Jonas, exh. cat., HangarBicocca, Milan (2 October 2015 – 1 February 2015) ; Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (26 September – 10 January 2016), New York, Gregory R. Miller & Co, 2015
Joan Jonas, works 1968-1994, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 31 May – 19 June 1994→
Joan Jonas, Frac île-de-France, Paris, 8 June – 28 August 2005→
Joan Jonas, Tate Modern, 14 March – 5 August 2018 ; Haus der Kunst, Munich, 9 November 2018 – 3 March 2019 ; Fundação de Serralves – Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, 25 May – 1 September 2019
American performance and video artist.
Following her studies in art history and her training in visual art (primarily in sculpture), Joan Jonas turned towards performance and video art, in which she would become an important pioneer. Her work attempts to express inner life and repressed emotions. Whether as a dancer, witch, or narrator, she adopts in her performances the persona of characters she considers troubling and subversive, and, through these diverse portrayals, she questions her role as an artist and a woman. She opposed the minimalist trends prevalent in the American art scene during the 1960s and 1970s by progressively integrating words and narratives capable of describing highly expressive psychic landscapes. The direct involvement of her self, as the physical and psychological source of her work – both vulnerable and literal – becomes a central tenet of her performances. Thus, starting in 1968, she created multidimensional works using sound and video images, combining choreographed movements, improvisation, drawings and accessories. The mirror, the mask, and the video monitor are three constants of her eminently theatrical work.
From Organic Honey’s Vertical Roll (1972) to her more recent work such as Revolted by the Thought of Known Places… Sweeney Astray (1994), a plethora of female characters succeed each other, drawn from ancient or contemporary lore, the artist often choosing to revisit medieval fables or epic poems. Between illusionism and colourful carnival, she never stopped exploring new narrative forms. She received many prizes and grants, namely from the New York State Council on the Arts. In 1994, an important retrospective was mounted by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in her honour. Her work is displayed at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
Joan Jonas, May New Theater 1, 1997, video color, sound and mixed media in miniature, 166.4 x 50.8 x 185.4 cm, MoMA, © Joan Jonas
Joan Jonas, Mirror Piece II, 1969-2018, performance at Tate Modern, 13 March 2018, © Photo: Stephen Chung / Alamy, © Joan Jonas
Joan Jonas, Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy, 1972, single-channel video, black and white, sound, 17’ 24’’, MACBA, © Joan Jonas
Joan Jonas, They Come to Us without a Word (Bees), 2014-2015, installation view, Pavilion of the United States at the 56th International Art Exhibition, Biennale di Venezia, © Photo: Moira Ricci, © Joan Jonas
Joan Jonas, They Come to Us without a Word (Mirrors), 2015, installation view, Pavilion of the United States at the 56th International Art Exhibition, Biennale di Venezia, © Photo: Moira Ricci, © Joan Jonas
Joan Jonas, Wind, 1968, 16 mm film transferred into video, black and white, silent, 5’ 40’’, MACBA, © Joan Jonas