JOAN JONAS: A PIONEER OF PERFORMANCE AND VIDEO ART
“Children’s voices should be included in this dialogue about our future and our environment because they’re the ones who are going to inherit it.”
2020 Summit speaker Joan Jonas is a world-renowned artist whose work encompasses a wide range of media including video, performance, installation, sound, text, and sculpture. Joan’s experiments and productions in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s continue to be crucial to the development of many contemporary art genres, from performance and video to conceptual art and theatre.
Her multimedia installation mixes together her inspirations from different cultures and traditions. In her work, she draws from diverse sources–from fairy tales to essays, from myths to local folklore–which she uses to address contemporary issues. She uses masks, mirrors and video screens to disrupt the conventions of theatrical storytelling and to create a complex layering of powerful images. Both poetic and political, Joan's work conveys her lifelong interest in movement, music, female identity, the environment, as well as natural and urban landscapes.
At the 2020 Verbier Art Summit, Joan addressed the present dangers of climate change and extinction. Her recent works combine video, poetry, and research on the natural world and the animals that inhabit it. For example, her piece Moving Off the Land (2016–2018)–a complex sequence of productions, both in film and in drawing, in performance and in the spoken word–focuses on the oceans and marine creatures.
The exhibition Joan Jonas is currently on view at Dia Art Foundation, the contemporary art museum in New York headed by Summit partner Jessica Morgan. The show features three collection works by the artist, including the multimedia installation The Shape, the Scent, the Feel of Things (2004), which was commissioned as a performance for Dia Art Foundation in 2005–06, and two recently acquired works, Stage Sets and After Mirage (both from 1976). Click here for more information about the exhibition.