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27 Oct 2017

Joan Jonas: Ice Drawing

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Reviewed by Heather Kapplow

Enter through the "Seeking Stillness" exhibition if you can - Jonas couldn't have asked for a better prelude to her work. The artifacts you first encounter in the darkened, theatrical Krupp Gallery greet you as if you were an archaeologist. They were used as tools for something, but what?

The "what," as it always is with Jonas's work, is a multilayered, intuitive working of symbols, sounds, and textures.

The two videos feature hands drawing with ice in different ways, and the difference between the two ways is a clue to the "what." In the show's eponymous piece, ice cubes move through ink and reflect back on the viewer through pendant crystals.

Reanimation, performed at the MFA in 2014, shows a mystery tool in use - and at first it seems the opposite of a tool - in the drawing of an ice crystal. But in fact, it's an aid for showcasing our ineptitude in preserving the natural world racing by us - or melting away from us.

Exhibition Joan Jonas: Ice Drawing link
Start date 24 Sep 2017
End date 01 Jul 2018
Presenter Museum of Fine Arts, Boston link
Venue 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, USA map
Image Joan Jonas, Ice Drawing, 2012, installation consisting of video (color, silent, projected through structure) and structure with metal armature and hanging crystals, courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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