PRINT December 2015

The Year in Performance

Catherine Wood

Joan Jonas, Reanimation, 2010/2012/2013. Performance view, HangarBicocca, Milan, October 21, 2014. Photo: Matteo Scarpellini.

JOAN JONAS stood at the center of the year—as both a singular presence and a pervading force. In July, she mounted a series of performances at the Venice Biennale in the Teatro Piccolo Arsenale: In those works, mirage-like layerings of choreographed movement, projected video landscapes, and real things set between gauzy scrims created an exquisite microcosm of theatrical disorientation within the theater of the miasmic city. Jonas’s practice, at the core of so much new work happening now, channels history, culture, time, and nature in ways that confound the idea of contemporaneity. She stands for a post-1960s idea of cross-disciplinarity, of “performance art” proper based on carefully calibrated indeterminacy. And that space of performance—carved out in a moment when subjectivity and traditional skill were rightfully being taken apart—is generatively with us still,

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