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"Joan Jonas - Timelines: transparencies in a dark room"
2007-09-19 until 2008-01-07
Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona
The works created by Joan Jonas between the late '60s and the early '70s at the crossroads of dance, performance and video played a central role in formulating new artistic genres such as installations or experimental theatre. Joan Jonas is considered a pioneer in these areas, especially in video-art and performance. Born in New York in 1936, Jonas studied art in Boston, Massachusetts and New York. She became involved very early in the world of dance, following the teachings of Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer. Breaking away from the formulations of 1970's sculpture, her first works explored the notions of space and phenomena of perception. Elements from different areas flow together; the influences of Kabuki theatre or the Japanese Noh on one hand, and the act of drawing on the other. Collaborations with composers such as Alvin Lucier and performances with the Wooster Group have also been crucial in Joan Jonas' career.
Jonas has developed an emblematic vocabulary in her performances, synthesising ritual gestures and symbolic objects, including masks, costumes and mirrors; playing with archaic methods for creating optical illusions and different narrative effects. Jonas began using video in her performances in Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy (1972) – which forms part of the MACBA's collection – by using live cameras and monitors to transform and superimpose images, space and time. In fact, the reciprocal alimentation between installations, video sequences and live performances has developed in her work in a cumulative way, which would become one aspect of Jonas' modus operandi regarding the narrative forms which are characteristic of her work.
Among the other halls of the Museum, Joan Jonas' exposition will be presented in the MACBA Chapel, a space that transforms into a great open, polyphonic theatre, and where works central to her career will be displayed alongside more recent ones. The sample will include 4 large installations created by the artist from the early '70s until the present day in an attempt to trace the constant narratives and forms in a career full of elements strongly rooted in oral traditions. A selection of films will complete what will be one of the most ambitious retrospectives dedicated to Joan Jonas.
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