At PICA we recognise that we are situated within the unceded lands of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation. We pay our respects and offer our gratitude to Elders past and present, and to those emerging leaders in the community. We acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the importance of their care and continued connection to culture, community and Country.

Always was, always will be.

Our galleries are open today 12–5pm. Our exhibitions are always free.

Joan Jonas

Sun Signals 

Sun Signals 

Joan Jonas: Sun Signals is the first exhibition in Australia devoted to the work of video and performance art pioneer, Joan Jonas. Bringing together various disciplines ranging from performance, video and sculpture to sound, drawing and installation the New York artist’s boundary-crossing approach has had a profound impact on generations of artists.  

Sun Signals presents a selection of Jonas’ single-channel videos from 19681976, focusing on her early productions and explorations of time, space and self-representation. Through an iterative treatment of movement, mirroring and sound, each work builds on the previous one as PICA’s Central Gallery is transformed into a chamber of unfolding gestures and cyclical compositions.  

Jonas’ reputation as ‘the digital sorceress’ resonates with the maternal principles of Ngaangk – the overarching theme of the Perth Festival 2024. Ngaangk refers to sun and mother in the language of the Noongar people who are the traditional custodians of the land on which the city of Perth now stands.  

Sun Signals takes its name from an action depicted in the recently restored 16mm film Songdelay (1973) where Jonas uses a mirror to reflect sunlight into the eyes of the audience. Amongst other works, the exhibition also features the rare double projection of Mirage (1976) and Mirage II (1976/2000) where the artist repeatedly traces and erases drawings on a blackboard, including symbols for a storm, a rainbow, the sun and moon 

Sun Signals is accompanied by the live performance of Jonas’ iconic work Mirror Piece I & II (1969-70/2024) on Saturday 10 February. This 30-minute work takes place in PICA’s Central Gallery with 15 local performers carrying life-size mirrors in which they create an immersive scene of moving imagery. Guided by the hands of women, the performance is a reclaiming of the mirror as a powerful tool for female self-representation. 

About the Artist

Born in 1936 in New York, where she continues to live and work, Joan Jonas is one of the most significant artists in the history of video and performance art. Since the 1960s, she has placed female subjectivity at the centre of her work, employing a complex linguistic repertoire of leitmotifs, gestures and iteration in her storytelling. 

Jonas’s practice is the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2024. Recent solo exhibitions of her work have been held at Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2022), Dia Art Foundation, Beacon, New York (2021) and Tate, London (2018). Jonas represented the United States of America at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and has participated in Documenta several times, most recently in Documenta XIII in Kassel, Germany (2012). 


Supporters

Presented in association with

 

 

 

 

PICA’s Joan Jonas Giving Circle:

Sophie Chamberlain
Marisa D’Orsogna
A&M Fini Foundation
Feilman Foundation
Gillian Gallagher
Iris Koornstra
Véronique Ramén
Felicity Ruse
Linda Savage
Penelope Seidler AM
Judy Wheeler Commission
Anonymous (5)

PICA also thanks the following donors for their support: Carroll Fairhall Family, Mark Clapham, Martina Crowley, Simone Eley, Theo Kailis, Anne Tunnecliffe

 

Image: Joan Jonas, Songdelay (still), 1973, 16mm film on HD video, courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York. © Joan Jonas. Artists Right Society (ARS)/Copyright Agency, 2023