Joan Jonas – BMW Tate Live Exhibition: Ten Days Six Nights at the Tate
This year’s Ten Days Six Nights exhibit at Tate Modern focuses on legendary performance artist Joan Jonas, part of the largest and most comprehensive retrospective survey show of her work ever produced in the UK. Composed of free mesmerising daytime installations, incorporated are live performances of her Mirror Piece II and the outdoor staging of Delay Delay at Bankside near the Thames.
A continuing inspiration for artists, Jonas’s work includes collections that uniquely and superbly combine video, film, drawing, installation and performance. Never static, always ongoing, changeable and transmutable, once a live piece has finished it becomes an installation, but can also be reverted back.
Consisting mainly of huge conceptual creations, the first upon entering immerse the viewer in nature to the sound of bird song with several gigantic screens of filmed bucolic scenes. Cones/May Windows presents large metal cones next to a shot of Jonas’s loft window in New York City. I Want to Live in the Country (And Other Romances) features a video of a woman at the corner of the monitor watching a stream of black and white images with a continuous narrative involving dreamlike musings – and what seem like snippets from novels with references to horror themes, such as poltergeists.
Part of Stage Sets, a kind of booth with mirrors and crown-like paper objects, is inviting – one wants to go in, but can’t. As with Jonas’s pieces involving concealing and deflecting mirrors, here again our desire to see, engage or participate is frustrated.
A giant black and white video, Wind, reveals people in a blizzard by the sea moving in a kind of modern dance, but twisted and bizarre, like strange beings from hell in a horror movie. According to the artist, the high wind was unexpected, resulting in a “comedy of chaos”.
Reanimation is comprised of four huge double-sided screens in a square, and a metal rack with lovely crystal baubles creating dancing speckles of light amid eerie chanting. Visitors’ shadows are cast on the panels, including us in the artwork. Repetition of motifs such as baubles, mirrors, landscape, animals and hiking is frequent throughout.
The 2018 Ten Days Six Nights Jonas exhibition is well conceived, impressive and quite magical – inducing curiosity and a desire for more. Stimulating the mind and the imagination, one could spend several hours immersed in this intriguing show.
Featured Image: Joan Jonas, Reanimation, 2010/2012/2013
Photo by Thomas Müller
Joan Jonas: Ten Days Six Nights is at Tate Modern from 16th until 25th March 2018. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.