JOAN JONAS, « IN THE TREES », RAFFAELLA CORTESE MILAN

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Joan Jonas, In the Trees / Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan / december 3, 2015 | february 27, 2016.

Raffaella Cortese presents a second solo show at the gallery by acclaimed American artist Joan Jonas,
renowned pioneer of performance and video. Beginning in the 1960s, she placed female subjectivity at the center of her work, employing a complex linguistic repertoire including gestures, storytelling and images in movement. A tireless experimenter, Jonas explores the possibilities inherent to the interdisciplinary nature of art, a characteristic that has made her a point of reference for a younger generation of artists.

Jonas’ recent works mainly focus on the fragility of nature and its relationship with the human dimension, as in Reanimation, partly inspired by the writings of Icelandic author Halldór Laxness, and They Come to Us without a Word, the greater installation at the 56th Venice Biennale, to name but a few.

In her installations, videos and performances nothing is merely described, but rather evoked through the senses. “Although the idea of my work involves the question of how the world is so rapidly and radically changing, I do not address the subject directly or didactically,” said Jonas. “Rather, the ideas are implied poetically through sound, lighting and the juxtaposition of images of children, animals and landscape.”

The show at the gallery comes together with Jonas’ international recognition after her major traveling exhibition Light Time Tales – firstly presented at the Hangar Bicocca in Milano; now on show at the Malmö Konsthall – and of course her installation in the US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

The artist will present a series of works coming right from the Venice installation, two never-before-seen videos and a series of drawings conceived expressively for the gallery space in via Stradella 4.

Joan Jonas was born in New York in 1936. Lives and works in New York. She has been a tenured visual arts professor at MIT for the past 15 years, and is currently Professor Emerita in the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology (ACT) in MIT’s School of Architecture + Planning. In 2009 the artist was awarded the Guggenheim’s first annual Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2015, she represented USA at the Venice Biennale, where she was awarded a Special Mention for her significant oeuvre and influence.

Jonas has had retrospectives at the Hangar Bicocca, Milano (2014) and the Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (2015), Queens Museum of Art, New York (2003), Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart (2000), and at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1994). The artist has been represented in Documenta V, VI, VII in Kassel. She was commissioned to develop an installation and a subsequent performance entitled Lines in the Sand for Documenta XI. It was recreated at the Tate Modern in London, and the Kitchen in New York in 2004. Jonas has also exhibited in solo shows or performed at institutions such as: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna; Dia:Beacon, Beacon, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Le Plateau and Jeu de Paume/ Hotel de Sully, Paris; Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Image copyright Joan Jonas

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