We are delighted to present “Snakes and Butterflies,” a special project by the extraordinary and visionary American artist Joan Jonas.
Images of snakes and butterflies, taken from a sketchbook with pages of various colors that the artist created during the production of “The Shape the Scent the Feel of Things” (2004-2007), were inspired by the writings of the German art historian Aby Warburg. Between the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, Warburg visited the southwest of America to experience the rich culture of the indigenous populations of that area, namely the Hopi. In particular he wrote about the snake dance that Joan Jonas had witnessed in a Hopi pueblo during her trip to Arizona in the 1960s and was deeply influenced by it. The reproduced and enlarged drawings, printed with pigment on handmade paper, are the plates enclosed in a special numbered and signed portfolio, published by Noire.
A special thanks to Giulia Theodoli for her collaboration on this project.
Joan Jonas is a world-renowned artist whose work encompasses a wide range of media including video, performance, installation, sound, text, and sculpture. Joan’s experiments and productions in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s continue to be crucial to the development of many contemporary art genres, from performance and video to conceptual art and theatre. Since 1968, her practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of rituals, and the authority of objects and gestures. Joan has exhibited, screened, and performed her work at museums, galleries, and in large scale group exhibitions throughout the world. She has recently presented solo exhibitions at Hangar Bicocca, Milan; NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; the United States Pavilion for the 56th edition of the Venice Biennial; Tate Modern, London; TBA21 Ocean Space at the San Lorenzo Church, Venice; Serralves Museum, Porto; Dia Beacon, New York; and Haus der Kunst, Munich. In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Kyoto Prize, presented to those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of mankind.
Joan is currently working on her retrospective to open at the Museum of Modern Art in March 2024.