The most comprehensive exhibition of work dedicated to visionary artist Joan Jonas (b.1936, New York) in Germany to date has been conceived by the artist and Haus der Kunst in collaboration with Tate Modern, London.
Characterised by her fundamental interest in cultural rites and the dynamic processes of mirroring, shifting and redefining genre and time, the major retrospective is underpinned by themes that have recurred throughout her career. Environmental issues, echoed in early video works such as Wind (1968) are central to multimedia installations Reanimation (2010–12) and Stream or River, Flight or Pattern (2016), which address climate change and the threat to the ecosystem. The exploration of collective narratives of mythology, fairy tales and fables, set against a backdrop of contemporary, socio-political events form the starting point for works such as Juniper Tree (1969), Volcano Saga (1985), and Lines in the Sand (2002). The masks and props that have accompanied Jonas in her performances over the years are brought together in reference to the theatrical elements of Japanese Noh theatre and Surrealism.
Two live performances express her collaborative approach to movement and sound, including Mirror Piece I/II (1969/2018), where Jonas introduced the mirror as a central motif to her work to investigate societal images of femininity, and Working Together: A Lecture Demonstration (2015), a homage to her twenty-year collaboration with musician Jason Moran.
Curated by Andrea Lissoni and Julienne Lorz with Elena Setzer