Akeroyd Collection


Joan Jonas, Ice Drawing Sculpture, 2012

In Ice Drawing Sculpture, an overhead camera observes the artist's hand poor a small amount of black ink onto some watercolour paper. It pools briefly under the lights and then the same hands return to drop and arrange ice cubes on the spill. This assembling of parts and materials feels ad hoc and irreverent, certainly, in its gesture and materiality it comprizes the sculptural aspect of the work's title. We pause only for a second before seeing the artist drag and position the cubes of ice all over the paper, rarely exceeding the camera’s field of vision and so perfectly composing the drawn element. As the ink is diluted, it thins at times leaving streaks, and at other times increasing the volume and therefore the density of black on the page. You can see the cognitive process of the artist's mind (offscreen) evidenced in the dexterity and movement of the hand (on-screen) as exuberant abstract drawings, that sometimes allude to the figurative, claim the page. The resulting images only stop at a point that feels compositionally ‘right’. These are acts that last a few seconds and are repeated over the duration of the video. The viewer might find themselves considering their own decisions of when and where to stop, of what does or does not look ‘right’.

Ultimately, Joan Jonas leads us to the completed work; an image composed but also made. The materials and objects involved remain part of the process and this does not preclude the video and its apparatus either. This is a sculpture drawing and performance caught on video, its materials are the ink, the page, and the ice but also the video and the artist's hands. Here lies the essential recurring motif of Joan Jonas’s work, in a simple repetitive gesture.

MediumVideo on DVD, steel and glass
Duration2 minutes and 32 seconds, sculpture: 69 x 112 x 53 cm
Editionof 3 + 2 APs