Joan Jonas – Moving Off the Land II – Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid – February 25 − May 18, 2020.

Cette exposition commandée par la TBA21-Academy, qui conclut trois années de recherche par cette artiste née à New York, a été installée pour la première fois à Ocean Space à Venise en 2019. Elle se concentre sur le rôle que l’océan a joué dans les cultures au cours de l’histoire en tant que référence totémique, spirituelle et culturelle. Elle présente des sculptures, des dessins, du son et de nouvelles productions vidéo.

Suivant la méthodologie qui lui a valu sa renommée, Jonas combine la poésie et la prose d’écrivains comme Emily Dickinson et Herman Melville avec des textes de Rachel Carson et Sy Montgomery, et avec des images animées filmées dans des aquariums et en Jamaïque, où les algues fleurissent et la sur-pêche constituent une menace urgente pour l’environnement.

Joan Jonas’ exhibition Moving Off the Land II centers on the role the ocean has played for cultures throughout history as a totemic, spiritual, and ecological touchstone. Commissioned by TBA21–Academy, the exhibition was first inaugurated at Ocean Space in Venice in 2019 and comprises new video, sculpture, drawing, and sound works.

Joan Jonas was born in New York in 1936, where she still lives and works. Jonas is one of the most significant artists in the history of video and performance. 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 young generation of artists with whom she has established an intense and generous relationship of exchange. Continuity among those aspects of daily life and those connected to the production of her works comes to fruition in frequent interaction with friends and artists from different milieu; the most important of these include collaborations with visual artists Peter Campus and Richard Serra, the performer Ragani Haas and the musicians Alvin Curran and Jason Moran. Right from the start the artist began elaborating an individual language aimed at continuous renewal and the translation of diverse media. The transitory nature of her “actions” and the variety of expressive methods she utilizes – including performance, video and installations – create a fantasticum that places the artist’s figure and the experience at the centre.

She received her BA from Mount Holyoke College in 1958 and her MFA from Columbia University in 1965. In 2019 the Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery presented Five Rooms For Kyoto: 1972 – 2019, Jonas’ largest solo exhibition in Japan. In 2018 Tate Modern devoted a major survey exhibition (traveling to Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto), performance program and film screenings to the artist’s work. In 2015 Jonas represented the United States at the 56th Venice Biennale. In 2009 the artist was awarded the Guggenheim’s first annual Lifetime Achievement Award. Jonas has had retrospectives at HangarBicocca, Milan (2014), the Queens Museum of Art, New York (2003), Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart Germany (2000), and at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1994). She was represented in Documenta V, VI, VII in Kassel, Germany. 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: Tate Modern, London; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna, Austria; Dia:Beacon, Beacon, New York; Fundacion Botin, Santander, Spain; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain; Le Plateau and Jeu de Paume / Hotel de Sully, Paris, France; Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; CCA Kitakyushu, Kitakyushu, Japan.

Image © 2020 joan jonas & Musée national Thyssen-Bornemisza

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