Reanimation is an immersive installation inspired by the Icelandic writer and Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness’s 1968 novel Under the Glacier, which tells the story of a man sent to investigate paranormal activity around a glacier. Shot on Norway’s Lofoten Islands, four videos depict dreamlike images of glaciers, icy roads, and dark tunnels, intercut with footage of Jonas drip-painting on snow or drawing with ice and black ink on paper. The videos are projected onto four shoji screens that evoke the aesthetic of a traditional Japanese dwelling. At the heart of the structure, a sculpture made of eighty crystals refracts light from the projections and casts shadows and reflections onto the screens. The environment—at once mystical and domestic—also contains drawings of symbols that appear in the work, and two “theater box” sculptures, as Jonas calls them, displaying videos in miniature.
Jonas’s multilayered works evolve over long periods of time, encompassing various disciplines. Reanimation began as a performance, in 2010, and this installation comprises both new and previously recorded footage. Echoing Laxness’s nonlinear storytelling, Reanimation combines his descriptions of the Arctic with excerpts from early-twentieth-century translations of Japanese Noh theater plays by poet Ezra Pound and art historian Ernest Fenollosa. The soundtrack also includes traditional yoik songs of the indigenous Sami people performed by Norwegian musician Ánde Somby as well as music by composer and jazz musician Jason Moran.
Publication excerpt from From MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019).