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Haus der Kunst presents Joan Jonas

September 9, 2022–February 26, 2023

“I think it’s necessary to be on the edge. What scares me, draws me.” —Joan Jonas

The largest solo show of the globally acclaimed artist Joan Jonas (born 1936, New York) in Germany is now being held at Haus der Kunst in Munich. Jonas was one of the pioneers of performance when it began in New York City in the 1960s and 1970s after her studies in sculpture and art history. Her work is influenced by a core curiosity in how ritual and narration serve social purposes in communities. In response to climate change, the artist has become more and more concerned with current ecological challenges, putting non-human life forms and eco-systems at the center of her artistic attention since the early 2000s.

Jonas has consistently pushed the boundaries of art and impacted several generations of artists through her continual experimentation with performance, film, and installation, creating long-lasting exchanges of ideas. The exhibition at Haus der Kunst does not adhere to a chronologically sequential framework in accordance with Jonas’ practice, in which she updates and medially transforms preexisting performances or installations. Instead, it spreads out to outline the formal and thematic similarities between the works of various eras.

The exhibition gathers significant pieces that represent defining moments in Jonas’ body of work. Stage Sets (1976), an installation, establishes Jonas’ practice of transforming theatrical activities into tangible exhibition formats and develops a broad, dynamic view of sculpture. The first piece by Jonas to be totally based on a long-standing communal narrative is Juniper Tree (1976/1994). Her ongoing interest in modernizing and revising mythical themes in light of current societal events is seen in Lines in the Sand (2002/2005). A minimalist object, a proscenium stage, and a camera obscura are all references in five pieces from the My New Theater (1997–2006) series, which Jonas used to negotiate space, illusion, and framing in the creation of images.

The single channel video Wolf Lights (2004/05) is mounted beneath the building’s columns, illuminating the audience’s path to the Haus der Kunst entrance. Visitors can view Jonas’ most recent piece, Rivers to the Abyssal Plain, in the main hall, the home’s central public area (2021). The artwork, which is being seen for the first time in Europe, introduces the artist’s fascination with water as a complex eco-system and her creative approach to study. The multi-media project Reanimation (2010/2012/2013), which is located in the center of the exhibition, is likewise characterized by the connection between nature and artistic creativity.

Two performances by Joan Jonas, Mirror Piece I & II (1969/2018), which explain the mirror’s purpose of revealing power structures of the gaze and gender roles, are presented in conjunction with the exhibition. Jonas combines video footage with live music, text, and performance in her most recent performance, Out Takes: What the Storm Washed In (2022), which will have its European premiere at Haus der Kunst. Ikue Mori is the composer of the music.

The curators of the exhibition are Elena Setzer, Julienne Lorz, and Andrea Lissoni. The exhibition was conceptualized by the artist and Haus der Kunst in partnership with Tate Modern, London.


Joan Jonas, Mirror Piece I & II (1969/2018)

September 9, 2022, 6pm
September 10, 2022, 5 and 6pm

Joan Jonas, Out Takes: What the Storm Washed In (2022)
November 13, 2022, 6pm

Artist talk
Joan Jonas with Andrea Lissoni
November 14, 2022, 7pm

Film screening
Joan Jonas, Selected works
As part of the programme “Open Scene” at Filmmuseum München
November 17, 2022, 7pm

Film screening and artist talk
Martine Syms, The African Desperate (2022)
Film screening followed by an artist talk with Martine Syms, Andrea Lissoni and Elena Setzer
A cooperation with Mubi
October 10, 2022, 7pm

Haus der Kunst
Prinzregentenstrasse 1
80538 Munich
Hours: Wednesday–Monday 10am–6pm,
Thursday 10am–10pm,
Friday–Saturday 10am–8pm

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