JOAN JONAS. Begin Again. 19.06.2009 – 01.08.2009 

Press Release
Exhibition Views

english / deutsch

The Galerie Reinhard Hauff is delighted to announce „Begin Again“—with the acclaimed American multi-media and performance artist Joan Jonas (*1936). The artist is this year’s recipient of Stuttgart’s prestigious Hans-Molfenter Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Performance and Video Art. Jonas’ pioneering performances of the mid-60’s, merged elements of dance, theatre, drawing, and sculpture in a myth, music and history vocabulary of ritualized gestures and symbolic objects which examined the human body, its movements, and the spaces it occupies. Jonas began using video in her performances in 1972, incorporating cameras and monitors as a means of transforming space and time on stage. Masks, costumes, animals and mirrors became key features of the visual and symbolic language with which she continues to explore the archaic origins of art and identity in installations, videos, performances, and photographs.

„Begin Again“ – Jonas’ third solo show at the Galerie Reinhard Hauff—displays on the one hand a series of new drawings related to her recent performances, such as the 2006 performance at Dia:Beacon in New York, „The Shape, the Scent and the Feel of Things“, and the 2002 performance „Lines in the Sand“ created for Documenta XI. Performance specific works on paper—in chalk or coloured crayons or ink—have always been an integral part of Jonas’ practice and constitute important documentary evidence or traces of her performances. The show at Galerie Reinhard Hauff includes drawings of snakes, bats, seahorses, butterflies, skeletons and nudes similar to those seen in Jonas’ video installation at the current Venice Biennale. Two video installations – „Begin Again“ from 2007 and „Moving With No Pattern“ from 1999 – form the second part of the gallery show. In „Begin Again“ the artist appears alone in front of the camera – that is in front of the viewer – in her country home in Nova Scotia, where she performs with various decorative objects and mirrors offering the occasional reflections of the artist and her interior. In her performances Jonas often makes drawings of animals and objects with chalk on a blackboard, repeatedly wiping out the images and starting all over again. In another sequence in the video, Jonas is sitting on the porch of her house in the late afternoon sun. The running camera is „present“ in the scene through the long shadows it casts on the sundeck of the porch, where Joan Jonas talks to us about her mother who collected heart shaped stones and influenced her to collect stones, driftwood and other material found in nature in much the same manner. Jonas’ own collection of dog shaped stones inspired a range of works on paper – some of which were included in her last show at the Gallery, which coincided with her large retrospective at the Galerie der Stadt Stuttgart in 2001 „Joan Jonas. Performance Video Installation. 1968-2000“. The video installation „Moving With No Pattern” is from the end of the 90’s when the artist was teaching at the Art Academy of Stuttgart. Jonas made the video in the former Rheinstahlhalle on the outskirts of Stuttgart together with her students who are acting and improvising with a variety of props and found objects.

On the occasion of the Hans-Molfenter Award ceremony on 21 and 22 July, 2009, Joan Jonas will perform „The Shape, the Scent and the Feel of Things“ at the Staatstheater Stuttgart. The artist is currently participating in the 53rd Venice Biennale.