press release

Joan Jonas
May 25–September 1, 2019

Joan Jonas (New York, 1936) is a pioneer of performance, video and installation who has pushed the boundaries of art for the last five decades. After studying sculpture and art history she became one of the founding figures of performance when it first emerged in New York in the 1960s and 1970s. Throughout her career Jonas has constantly experimented with different media and continues to influence generations of younger artists.

Drawing inspiration from different cultures and traditions, Jonas’ imagery draws on diverse sources, from fairy tales to essays, from myths to local folklore. She adapts these sources so they relate to contemporary life. She uses masks, mirrors and video screens to create a complex layering of images. Both poetic and political, Jonas’ work conveys her lifelong interest in movement, music, female identity, the environment, and natural and urban landscapes.

Jonas often revisits and re-adapts earlier works and performances to create new installations and to incorporate a live element into them. The layout and order of the exhibition, which was put together in close collaboration with the artist, is based on Jonas’ constant mirroring of recurring themes and motifs. This exhibition shows the masks and objects that surround the artist in her New York loft and which are a constant source of inspiration for her. Throughout the exhibition it is Jonas’ voice that guides you.

In memory of Okwui Enwezor

The exhibition is organised by the Serralves Foundation – Museum of Contemporary Art with Tate Modern, London, and is curated by Marta Almeida, Deputy Director, and Paula Fernandes, curator, Serralves Museum, and Andrea Lissoni, Senior Curator, International Art (Film), Tate Modern, and Julienne Lorz, Chief Curator, Gropius Bau, Berlin.