Joan Jonas, ‘Mirror Check’, 1970, Fondation Beyeler

The performer observes and examines her own naked body with a small, round hand-held mirror. The mirror serves as a symbol of self-portraiture but also as a device of fragmentation, reflecting
parts of the body but not the whole.

Image rights: Photo credit courtesy Manchester City Galleries, Courtesy Manchester City Galleries

Performed for 11 Rooms at the Manchester International Festival 2011

About Joan Jonas

Joan Jonas, believing that sculpture and painting were exhausted mediums, became known for her pioneering work in performance and video art. Jonas, who studied sculpture and art history, was deeply influenced by the work of Trisha Brown, with whom she studied dance, as well as John Cage and Claes Oldenburg, particular in their exploration of non-linear narrative structure and form. Jonas’s own work has frequently engaged and questioned portrayals of female identity in theatric and self-reflexive ways, using ritual-like gestures, masks, mirrors, and costumes. Over time, Jonas began to introduce more symbolic elements into her work; frequent motifs include dogs, the sun and moon, skulls, landscapes, and hurricanes. Themes of memory, autobiography, mythology, and dreams became more central themes in her work in the 1980s.

American, b. 1936, New York, New York, based in New York, New York