Jonas Joan

Publié le par Olivier Lussac

An acclaimed multi-media performance artist, Joan Jonas is also a major figure in video art. From her seminal performance-based exercises of the 1970s to her later televisual narratives, Jonas' elusive theatrical portrayal of female identity is a unique and intriguing inquiry.
Trained in art history and sculpture, Jonas was a central figure in the performance art movement of the mid-1960s. In works that examined space and perceptual phenomena, she merged elements of dance, modern theater, the conventions of Japanese Noh and Kabuki theater, and the visual arts. Jonas first began using video in performance in Organic Honey's Visual Telepathy (1972), in which a live camera and monitor functioned as both a mirror and a masking device, a means of transforming and layering images, space and time.
In the same year Jonas began making single-channel videotapes. Reflecting the conceptual performance and body art movements of the 1970s, Jonas' early video works break new ground in their application of the phenomenological properties of the new medium to a self-reflexive study of female identity. Her classic early works, including Vertical Roll (1972), explore the phenomenology of the video medium -- its one-on-one directness and function as a mirror -- to create a theater of the self and the body.
Jonas' investigation of subjectivity and objectivity is articulated through an idiosyncratic, personal vocabulary of ritualized gesture and self-examination. Often performing in masks, veils, or costumes, Jonas uses disguise and masquerade to study the personal and cultural semiotics of female gesture and symbols. The layering of mirrors and mirrored images is one of her most powerful metaphorical devices. Among Jonas' signature formal strategies are the manipulation of theatrical and video space, the use of drawing to add a rich density of texture and content, and objects that convey meaning as cultural icons, archetypes and symbols.
In the 1980s Jonas began developing her emblematic, personal grammar of gesture, ritual and sound into intricate, multi-textual works that exhibit a sophisticated layering of nonlinear narrative forms with performance, theatricality, and electronic manipulations of space, time and image. Her elliptical, fragmented video narratives often merged such storytelling forms as fairy tales (Upsidedown and Backwards, 1980), science fiction (Double Lunar Dogs, 1984), legends (Volcano Saga, 1989), myths and dreams with topical and autobiographical references. Just as Jonas' works of the 1970s exploited the rudimentary technological properties of video as conceptual devices, so these later works utilize sophisticated electronic techniques to achieve a multi-dimensional theater that explores the fragmentation and loss of memory and identity in postmodern culture.
From her earliest, face-to-face confrontations with video as a mirroring device, to her densely collaged narrative texts, Jonas herself always appears as a performer, confronting the viewer in an enigmatic theater of self-discovery.
Presented with the American Film Institute's Maya Deren Award in 1988, Jonas was also the recipient of the 3rd Annual Polaroid Video Art Award in 1987. She has received grants for choreography, video and the visual arts from the New York State Council on the Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Guggenheim Foundation; and the Rockefeller Foundation. She was artist-in-residence at the TV Lab at WNET/Thirteen in New York, and was selected for the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Artists-in-Berlin program.
Jonas has performed and exhibited her work extensively throughout the world, in one-person exhibitions and performances at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Kunstmuseum, Bern; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Holland; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; San Francisco Museum of Art; University Art Museum, Berkeley, California; and Sonnabend Gallery, New York; and in group exhibitions including the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial Exhibition, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Long Beach Museum of Art, California; World Wide Video Festival, The Hague; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Documentas 5, 6, and 8, Kassel, Germany; and Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema et de la Video, among others. Jonas received a B.A. in art history from Mount Holyoke College, studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She lives in New York.

An acclaimed multi-media performance artist, Joan Jonas is also a major figure in video art. From her seminal performance-based exercises of the 1970s to her later televisual narratives, Jonas engages in an elusive theatrical portrayal of female identity. Employing an idiosyncratic vocabulary of ritualized gesture and symbolic objects that include masks, mirrors, and costuming, she explores the self and the body through layers of meaning.

Wind  1968, 5:37 min, b&w, silent, 16 mm film
Duet  1972, 3:49 min, b&w, sound
Left Side Right Side  1972, 8:50 min, b&w, sound
Organic Honey's Visual Telepathy  1972, 17:24 min, b&w, sound
Vertical Roll  1972, 19:38 min, b&w, sound
Glass Puzzle  1973, 17:27 min, b&w, sound
Songdelay  1973, 18:35 min, b&w, sound, 16 mm  film
Three Returns Barking  1973, 15:34 min, b&w, sound
Three Returns  1973, 13:14 min, b&w, sound
Barking  1973, 2:20 min, b&w, sound
Organic Honey's Vertical Roll  1973-99, 15 min, b&w, sound
Disturbances  1974, 11 min, b&w, sound
Good Night Good Morning  1976, 11:38 min, b&w, sound
Mirage  1976, 31 min, b&w, silent, 16 mm film
I Want to Live in the Country (And Other Romances)  1979, 24:06 min, color, sound
Upsidedown and Backwards  1980, 29:03 min, color, sound
He Saw Her Burning  1983, 19:32 min, color sound
Big Market  1984, 23:36 min, color, sound
Double Lunar Dogs  1984, 24:04 min, color, sound
Brooklyn Bridge  1988, 6:12 min, color, sound
Volcano Saga  1989, 28 min, color, sound
Mirage 2  2000, 30 min, b&w, sound

Crimp, Douglas, ed. Joan Jonas: Scripts and Descriptions, 1968-1982, Berkeley, California: University Art Museum, 1983.
Mignot, Dorine, ed. Joan Jonas: Works 1968-1994, Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, 1994.
Schmidt, Johann-Karl, ed. Joan Jonas: Performance Video Installation 1968-2000, Galerie de Stadt Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2000. Essays by Ralf Christofori, Chrissie Iles, Andrea Jahn, Johann-Karl Schmidt, Joan Simon, Annette Tietenberg. In German and English.

Joan Jonas
Joan Jonas studied sculpture and art history at Columbia University and     Titles by Joan Jonas: Mount Holyoke College, and dance with Tricia Brown at the Boston Museum school. Widely know for her work in performance in the mid-60s, Jonas first incorporated a live video camera and monitor into a 1972 performance, Organic  Honey's Visual Telepathy. In the same year, she began producing single-channel tapes, among them Vertical Roll (1972), which are recognized as landmark investigations into the structural and performative nature of the medium.
"Space was always a primary concern, and in considering the space of the monitor I then dealt with the box-like structure, positioning it in relation to myself. I tried to climb into the box, attempting to turn the illusion of flatness into one of depth."                     
Jonas's tapes draw on the essential connection between performance art and the video monitor, as time-based media especially suited to materializing the artist's psyche. Exploring the dislocation of physical space and mythical female archetypes, Jonas's work occupies an important position in the development of both early formalist and early feminist video.

Publié dans Biographies

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