Joan Jonas

Joan Jonas

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art

Joan Jonas, Lines in the Sand (still), 2002. Video recording of the performance, The Kitchen, New York NYC, 2004.

May 21, 2019
Joan Jonas
May 25–September 1, 2019
Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
Rua D. João de Castro, 210
4150–417 Porto
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–7pm,
Saturday–Sunday 10am–8pm

T +351 22 615 6500
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Joan Jonas (New York, 1936) is a pioneer of performance, video and installation who has pushed the boundaries of art for the last five decades. After studying sculpture and art history she became one of the founding figures of performance when it first emerged in New York in the 1960s and 1970s. Throughout her career Jonas has constantly experimented with different media and continues to influence generations of younger artists.

Drawing inspiration from different cultures and traditions, Jonas’ imagery draws on diverse sources, from fairy tales to essays, from myths to local folklore. She adapts these sources so they relate to contemporary life. She uses masks, mirrors and video screens to create a complex layering of images. Both poetic and political, Jonas’ work conveys her lifelong interest in movement, music, female identity, the environment, and natural and urban landscapes.

Jonas often revisits and re-adapts earlier works and performances to create new installations and to incorporate a live element into them. The layout and order of the exhibition, which was put together in close collaboration with the artist, is based on Jonas’ constant mirroring of recurring themes and motifs. This exhibition shows the masks and objects that surround the artist in her New York loft and which are a constant source of inspiration for her. Throughout the exhibition it is Jonas’ voice that guides you.

In memory of Okwui Enwezor

The exhibition is organised by the Serralves Foundation – Museum of Contemporary Art with Tate Modern, London, and is curated by Marta Almeida, Deputy Director, and Paula Fernandes, curator, Serralves Museum, and Andrea Lissoni, Senior Curator, International Art (Film), Tate Modern, and Julienne Lorz, Chief Curator, Gropius Bau, Berlin.

Early Works:
Reconfigurations of the Mirror Check (1970) and Mirror Piece I & II: Reconstruction (1969/2018-19), at the Serralves Park and Auditorium, in the context of the opening and in the XI Edition of the Serralves in Festa Festival.

Saturday, May 25 
5:15pm: Mirror Check (1970)
6pm: Mirror Piece I & II: Reconstruction (1969/2018-2019)

Sunday, May 26
6pm: Mirror Piece I & II: Reconstruction (1969/2018-2019)
7pm: Mirror Check (1970)

Mirror Check (1970)
Library of Museum of Contemporary Art

Joan Jonas’s Mirror Check—performed for the first time in 1970 and which consolidates the later "Mirror Pieces"—marks an important theoretical and artistic turning point for the artist as she transitioned from using mirrors as media in her sculptures to using it as an instrument in her performance. 

The performer meticulously observes and examines the body through the mirror, as an object and agent, exploring different angles and perspectives.

Mirror Piece I & II: Reconstrution (1969/2018–19)
Auditorium and Serralves Park

Mirror Piece II was one of the first in a series of time-based works that established Jonas as a leading figure in the field of performance art.

In this piece, performers carry out a series of carefully choreographed actions with mirrors and glass. The size and weight of the props mean that the performers’ movements have to be slow and careful. The constant danger that the mirrors will break creates a sense of anxiety among the spectators. The mirrors fragment the space, the audience, and the performers. 

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Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
May 21, 2019

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