photo — John Groo
Jaanika Peerna is an Estonian-born artist and educator living and working in New York since 1998. Her work encompasses drawing, installation, and performance, often dealing with the theme of transitions in light, air, water and other natural phenomena. For her performances she often involves the audience in participatory reflection on the current climate meltdown. Her art practice stems from the corporeal experience of our existence and reaches towards enhanced awareness of the fragility, interconnectedness and wonder of all life.
She 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 USA 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 by JHB Gallery and ARC Fine Art in the US, HAUS Galerii in Estonia and IdeelART globally. She was awarded the FID Grand Prize in 2016 for her work in drawing, and she was a teaching artist at the Dia Art Foundation for many years. In Fall 2021 a new monograph Glacier Elegies will be published by Terra Nova Press and distributed by MIT Press.
"I make drawings, videos and installations. My elements are line and light; my materials are pencils, vellum and video camera. I am a vessel gathering subtle and rapturous processes in nature, using the experiences and impulses to make my work. I record mist turning into water. I use slowly changing lights to cast shadows of mylar strips onto a wall—The slowness of shadows makes one wonder if there is any change at all. I let wind move my body so that it leaves traces on paper. I swim through thousands of layers of gray air and mark each one down. Most of my work is born in the solitude of my studio. Sometimes public performances with musicians and dancers draw me out from the safe silence of my space and expand my drawing practice with sound and movement. I am interested in the never-ending process of becoming with no story, no beginning, no end—just the current moment in flux."
— Jaanika Peerna