Joan Jonas’s epic, yet delicate multimedia installation and performance Reanimation was inspired by the novel Under the Glacier (1968) by Icelandic writer Halldor Laxness. Originally created for dOCUMENTA (13) with jazz pianist Jason Moran, this piece sees the artist and musician responding to each other’s work in a live improvisation, creating a particularly icy form of alchemy. A pioneer of video and performance, Jonas is a very influential figure of the New York art scene from conceptual art to video and experimental theater.
Born in 1936, Joan Jonas was trained as a sculptor and moved into performance and film in the 1960s, subverting mediated images to question (self-) portraiture and the representation of the body. Her seminal video works in the 1970s pushed her investigation further and addressed issues of gender and feminism. Since the late 1970s, investigating ideas of ritual, process, and repetition, Jonas has developed a large body of work exploring the potentialities of drawing. Since the 1960s, Jonas has extensively exhibited throughout the world. Recent major shows include solo and group shows MoMA, New York; Le Plateau and Jeu de Paume, Paris; Queens Museum of Art in New York City, and Museum Carillo Gil in Mexico City. She was included in the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009), 28th Sao Paulo Biennial (2008), and major touring exhibition WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (2007-8).