artist / participant

press release

Joan Jonas’ experiments and productions in the late sixties and early seventies were essential in the formulation of performance, video, conceptual art and contemporary theatre. Born in New York in 1936, she is regarded as a pioneer in those fields, especially video art and performance.

Jonas studied art in, Boston, Massachusetts, and New York and soon became connected with the world of dance (she worked with Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer). In the last decades she has worked with composers like Alvin Lucier on a number of installations and performances, and has acted with The Wooster Group. Her first works investigated notions of space and phenomena of perception, where elements from dance, Japanese Kabuki or Noh theatre, sculpture and, most of all, drawing converge. In his performances, she has developed an emblematic vocabulary, synthesising ritual gestures and symbolic objects, and including masks, costumes and mirrors, playing with archaic methods of creation of optical illusions or special effects. She began using video in her performances in Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy (1972) –which is part of the MACBA Collection–, including live cameras and monitors as a means of transformation and superimposition of images, space and time.

The Joan Jonas exhibition will be presented, among other museum rooms, in the Capella dels Àngels, a space which will be converted into a large open, polyphonic theatre where essential works from her career will be placed alongside more recent ones and others specially created for the occasion. The exhibition will include works done from the early seventies to closer, more recent productions in an attempt to track the narrative and formal constants in a work packed with elements deeply rooted in oral traditions. In her work, Jonas highlights the almost magical role of the narrator which constitutes and conveys a particular drama in each action.

Curator: Bartomeu Marí Produced by: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

only in german

Joan Jonas
Kurator: Bartomeu Marí