May 24, 2018 - TBA21–Academy - Joan Jonas
May 24, 2018


Joan Jonas, Moving Off the Land, 2016/2017. Performance with María Huld Markan on Sequences Art Festival, Reykjavík, 2017. Photo Elísabet Davíðsdóttir. Courtesy the artist and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York/Rome.


Joan Jonas
Moving Off the Land. Oceans—Sketches and Notes 

Presented in collaboration with Tate Modern 
May 31, 2018, 9pm 

Tate Modern
London SE1 9TG
United Kingdom
Instagram / Facebook / #movingofftheland

Commissioned by TBA21–Academy and presented in collaboration with Tate Modern
Curated by Stefanie Hessler in collaboration with Isabella Maidment

Free with ticket

Joan Jonas’s mesmerizing multimedia performance Moving Off the Land. Oceans—Sketches and Notes, commissioned by TBA21–Academy and presented in collaboration with Tate Modern at the Turbine Hall, pays tribute to the ocean and its creatures, biodiversity, and delicate ecology. On this exceptional occasion Jonas will be joined onstage by the celebrated composer and drummer Ikue Mori.

Combining movement, live drawing, readings, and video projection, Moving Off the Land draws on literary and mythological references as well as Jonas’s own collection of sketches and notes. Projected video footage of underwater scenes creates a setting in which multiple layers of gestures, real and imaginary figures, and numerous aquatic beings are brought together. In this 60-minute performance Jonas celebrates the poetics and explores the ecology of the ocean, which she describes “as a poetic, totemic, and natural entity, as a life source and home to a universe of beings.” Readings include excerpts from Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick, Sy Montgomery’s exploratory book The Soul of an Octopus, and Rachel Carson’s poetic science prose in The Edge of the Sea.

The oceans are an ongoing thematic touchstone in Jonas’s recent works, such as her project for the United States Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale, They Come to Us without a Word (2015), a multilayered ambient installation addressing the spiritual aspects of nature through video, drawings, objects, and sound.

In the late 1960s, as art opened itself to new practices and spaces, Jonas set her performance pieces—combining dance, theater, live drawing, sculpture, and music—outside the museum, in lofts, studios, wastelands, beaches, or forests. This interest in transforming space is further pursued in Moving Off the Land. The performance will premiere in the UK at Tate’s Turbine Hall, the institution’s central public space, a crossroads of viewers and passersby where the city meets the museum.

This unmissable event is one element of an ambitious multipart program at Tate Modern devoted to Jonas’s pioneering work in performance, video, and installation, which includes a major exhibition in the level 2 galleries of the Blavatnik Building. Moving Off the Land. Oceans—Sketches and Notes is a new commission by TBA21–Academy. It builds on an earlier iteration of the work first presented as part the Convening #2 in Kochi, India (2016), as well as at TBA21–Augarten, Vienna, and at the Sequences Art Festival, Reykjavík (both 2017). This iteration has been co-organized by TBA21–Academy and Tate Modern. Curated by Stefanie Hessler in collaboration with Isabella Maidment. Produced by Judith Bowdler and María Montero Sierra.

Moving Off the Land. Oceans—Sketches and Notes is performed by Joan Jonas in collaboration with composer Ikue Mori
Second performer: Francesco Migliaccio
Technical Assistance: David Sherman
Lighting Design: Jan Kroeze

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