418

Joan Jonas’s ​​Mira​​​​ge

Joan Jonas. Mirage. 1976/1994/2005. Six videos (black and white, sound and silent; duration variable), props, stages, and photographs, dimensions variable. Gift of Richard J. Massey, Clarissa Alcock Bronfman, Agnes Gund, and Committee on Media Funds. © 2019 Joan Jonas
  • MoMA, Floor 4, 418 The David Geffen Galleries

Mirage began in 1976 as a performance at New York’s Anthology Film Archives, in which Jonas used film, video, drawing, and props to evoke new—yet obscure—rituals. In 1994, the artist reimagined the work as an installation—of sculptural elements, chalkboard drawings, videos, and documentation of the performance—which she reconfigured again in 2005, as you see here.

At the heart of Mirage is the concept of transformation. In one video, Jonas draws again and again, erasing part of a sun to create a new moon; she calls this an “endless drawing,” after a funerary rite of a New Guinean tribe, believed to help the deceased transition to the afterlife. The artist’s emphasis on turning one thing into another can also be seen in the use of positive and negative images and in the recurrence of forms, as with the towering cones that echo nearby imagery of an erupting volcano. Such play with symbols, including a hopscotch grid, reflects Jonas’s ongoing interest in the repetition and ritualism of games.

1 work online
Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.