“American Table” points to histories of migration (an American fable) power, and patria. Within that space I will make simple portraits that commemorate, eulogize and historicize American wars at home and abroad. Based on two portrait-based photographs of a) injured Polish person during WWII–2019 is the 80th anniversary of the start of WWII within Anglo-centric politics– and b) an image of a person injured in our American wars abroad and at home (either an image of an individual harmed in Yemen, or a victim of recent gun-violence) I will make a sequence of portrait drawings of a) and b) in charcoal, ink and pencil, one a minute and switch between one portrait and the other at a time and build a corpus of work that grows by the minute. The performative practice is as collaborative as there are participants who wish to collaborate and build their own practice and corpus.
The performance offers an opportunity to witness and be part of (co-)creating and destroying, finding the balance between the two. Where is the moment when one turns into another? Can we turn the process around once it seems the destructive forces have taken over? Can one participant bring on the shift in group dynamics? The participatory performance brings together movement, drawing and ambient sound exploration.
Drawing it is an act of courage. We start with a long, hanging empty translucent white plane of mylar. It’s a scary moment yet one of bold possibility. Later in the performace melting ice is applied, and then destruction of the bodily line ensues. Once it is all melted and blurred there is an opportunity to build again. We experience how movement turns into drawing turns into sound as we touch the drawing surface with pencils, ice and our bodies. And then the other way around.
Peerna’s work encompasses drawing, installation, and performance, often dealing with the theme of transitions in light, air, water and other natural phenomena. Her performances often involve the audience in participatory reflection on the current climate meltdown. Her art practice stems from the corporeal experience of existence and reaches towards enhanced awareness of the fragility, interconnectedness and wonder of life.
Jaanika Peerna has exhibited her work and performed extensively in the entire New York metropolitan area as well as in Berlin, Paris, Tallinn, Barcelona, Venice, Moscow, Dubai, Sydney, Canberra, Montreal, and Cologne. Her work is in numerous private collections in the U.S. and Europe and is part of the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris. Her performance Glacier Elegy was recently acquired by the Glyn Vivian Museum in the UK. Her work is represented in the U.S. by JHB Gallery and ARC Fine Art and globally by IdeelART. She was awarded the FID Grand Prize in 2016 for her work in drawing, and she has been a teaching artist at the Dia Art Foundation for many years. Peerna currently works as cultural attaché for Estonia in New York.