For the 56th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, the MIT List Visual Arts Center commissioned Joan Jonas, a pioneering figure in video and performance art, to create a new multimedia installation that occupied the entirety of the U.S. Pavilion’s five galleries.
“These natural phenomena that Joan Jonas conjures, as she performs with sound and drawing and movement and other stimuli, are present for themselves in their own right, and convey to the viewer what they are and what they do, the artist acting as a conductor or messenger of their being." (Marina Warner)
“Although the idea of my work involves the question of how the world is so rapidly and radically changing, I do not address the subject directly or didactically,” said Jonas. “Rather, the ideas are implied poetically through sound, lighting and the juxtaposition of images of children, animals, and landscape.”
56TH INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION - LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA
JOAN JONAS’S THEY COME TO US WITHOUT A WORD
Presented by the MIT List Visual Arts Center in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State
Commissioner and Co-Curator: Paul C. Ha, Director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center
Co-Curator: Ute Meta Bauer, Director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, Nanyang Technological University
Joan Jonas’s They Come to Us without a Word, the official U.S. presentation at the 56th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, is organized by the MIT List Visual Arts Center and is presented by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. The exhibition is produced with the collaboration of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York).The exhibition has been generously supported by U.S. Department of State, Cynthia and John Reed, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Additional major support was provided by the Council for the Arts at MIT, Toby Devan Lewis, VIA Art Fund, Agnes Gund, Lambent Foundation, and many other generous individuals, foundations, and corporations.
Performances of They Come to Us without a Word II were organized in conjunction with the United States Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia by the MIT List Visual Arts Center, in collaboration with Teatro Fondamenta Nuove and the Università Iuav di Venezia (IUAV), with additional support by Fundación Botín, Santander, Galleria Alessandra Bonomo, Max Mara, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, The JL Foundation, The Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, NYSCA New York State Council on the Arts, and an anonymous donor.