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Live Art Series - Joan Jonas (Venice Biennale)   cover photo

Live Art Series - Joan Jonas (Venice Biennale) 2018


Distributed by Film Ideas, 308 North Wolf Rd., Wheeling, IL 60090; 800-475-3456

DVD, color, 88 min.

General Adult
Art, Performing Arts, Biography

Date Entered: 07/03/2018

Reviewed by Johnnie N. Gray, Director of Media Services, Christopher Newport University

Called the, “electronic sorceress,” Joan Jonas has established a foundation for other visual artists that came after her. Jonas is profiled here for the Live Art Series with an overall theme of transformation. Jonas is a film/projection artist that has been active since the 1960’s. Her time-based work showcases the extinction of things - whether it is of language or an animal species. As a female performance artist, she was never formally trained in video production and says she learned on the streets - gathering knowledge that allowed her to grow as an artist without specific training in editing. As the viewer, we see glimpses of videos that include writing, sketching and drawing as Jonas describes her intentions and what she would like to convey to the audience. Also, we see her collaborate with a jazz musician, perform in front of projections of her art and discuss what inspires her to do what she does. Jonas’ work is considered ephemeral in nature - and this documentary captures some pieces that would otherwise not be seen.

In this short film, the Venice Biennial that featured Joan Jonas in 2015 becomes a tribute to her body of work. It showed her in her rightful place, as a pioneer of the multimedia art form. This film showcases why she remains relevant to modern art today and provides a decent overview of the artist. It is most suitable for college-aged audiences.