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The gallery will be open until 6pm Thursday 22 December and reop ening Wednesday 4 January 2012.

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Wilkinson Gallery is pleased to present two concurrent exhibitions with the international ly acclaimed artist\, Joan Jonas. In the Lower Gal lery\, Jonas will present  Volcano Saga\, 1985/1994\, one of the most important installations existing from the art ist’s oeuvre.

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I see Volcano Saga as the beginning of my sy nthesizing the development of female character\, the story as mirror\, and the volcanic landscapes as representation of narrative. Here\, Iceland\, wa s the connection of the psyche to the elements. As in “Wind”\, the elements become character. I chose as my story the 13th  Century “Laxdae la Saga”. This story is about a woman who married four times. The book begi ns with a historical  account\, tracing the characters’ ancestry\, then con tinues with the woman\, Gundrun\, who tells four dreams to a seer who then interprets the  dreams. The second part of the saga involves the actual mar riages and the carrying out of the prophecy.

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A film crew recorded the la ndscapes on video. I photographed it\, and on returning to New York\, I dev eloped a solo performance with video and slide projections of the different mostly volcanic landscapes that for me represented parts of the story –  t he  four  dreams.  I  finally  turned  the  live performance into a 30-minu te narrative for television broadcast\, with Tilda Swinton playing Gundrun and Ron Vawter playing the seer Gest.

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I developed a way of telling the s tory in video with the foreground shot in the studio against the Icelandtic landscapes as backdrops. Gundrun tells her dreams to Gest as they sit toge ther in the hot springs – a beautiful blue lagoon with wond\, mist\, and bl ack volcano rock. Sitting in the steamy blue made the relationship of the c haracters in the story erotic. I liked this added level of closeness in rel ation to our own ideas about  how and when we tell our dreams to others\, a nd how they are interpreted.

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< span style="font-size: small\;">To frame the story in the present I began t he tape by telling my story of an accident that actually happened\, in whic h my car was blown off the road by the wind. Otherwise I played a small par t. The tape ended with an old couple talking about how the fishing net was invented. By a woman\, probably\, they say.

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Joan Jonas in Joan Jonas: Pe rformance Video Installation\, Hatje Cantz Verlag\, 2001

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This installation of Volcano Saga\, first displayed at the Stedelijk Museum \, Amsterdam in 1994\, consists of all the original elements from the perfo rmances including the props and two sets of performance drawings\, original slides\, the final video work\, and a video made from footage of a perform ance at The Art Institute\, San Fancisco\, 1986. The slide projection consi sts of images of the performances and from the photographs Jonas made when she first visited Iceland before developing her first performance of  Volca no Saga  at  De  Appel\, Amsterdam in 1985.

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Volcano Saga\, 1985-89 culti vates themes of the re-translation of storytelling\, the inquiry into femal e character and notions of nature and myth\, which define Jonas’ performanc e practice. Jonas often derives the narrative for her performances from anc ient texts and through a process of interpretation re-communicates them int o a contemporary context. Through the translation of established tales\, Jo nas enters the stories\, uncovering layers\, re-imagining and re-interpreti ng their accompanying myth and symbolism.

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Jonas’ discerning approach to performance and video has established her as a pioneer of performance and v ideo art\; she is one of the most important and influential artists to have emerged from the New York art scene of the 1960s and 1970s. Her work can b e situated within this era of exploration and re-definition of the represen tation and role of women.  Jonas was part of a movement of artists that que stioned the predetermined definitions of femininity\, breaking down myths a nd cultural ideals through socially and politically engaged artistic practi ce\, providing a new public space for the interpretation of notions of femi ninity and identity.

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Joan Jonas (b. 1936\, New York Cit y\, NY\, USA) lives and works in New York. Jonas has become one of the firs t female performance\, installation and video artists to become formally ac cepted by the institutional museum world with major solo exhibitions throug hout Europe\, the US and globally over the last 25 years. These include sol o exhibitions at Bergen Kunsthalle\, Norway (2011)\; Centre d’art Contempor ain\, Geneva\, Switzerland (2008)\; MACBA  - Museu d’Art Contemporani de Ba rcelona\, Spain  (2007)\; The Renaissance Society\, University of Chicago\, USA (2004)\; Queens Museum of Art (2003)\; Galerie der Stadt Stuttgart\, G ermany (2000)\; Stedelijk Museum\, Amsterdam (1994/1979)\; PS1 Contemporary Arts Center\, New York (1982)\; Whitechapel Art Gallery\, London (1979). R ecent important performances include The Guggenheim Museum\, New York (2010 )\, Dia: Beacon\, New York (2005)\, Tate Modern\, London (2004). Jonas is a lso a professor of visual arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A major new monograph edited by Joan Simon and published by Gregory R. Miller &\; Co. will be available in 2012.

DTEND:20120115 DTSTAMP:20140423T230733 DTSTART:20111010 GEO:51.5345651;-0.0548183 LOCATION:Wilkinson Gallery\,50/58 Vyner Street \nLondon\, E2 9DQ SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Volcano Saga\, 1985/1994\, Joan Jonas UID:180715 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:210000 DTSTAMP:20140423T230733 DTSTART:180000 GEO:51.5345651;-0.0548183 LOCATION:Wilkinson Gallery\,50/58 Vyner Street \nLondon\, E2 9DQ SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Volcano Saga\, 1985/1994\, Joan Jonas UID:180716 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR