Jaanika Peerna

New York, USA

Jaanika Peerna is an Estonia-born artist who, since 1998, has lived and worked mostly in New York.

Peerna’s work, primarily, encompasses drawing, video, installation and performance, often dealing with the theme of transitions in light, air, water and other natural phenomena. She often collaborates with designers, dancers and musicians within her performances.

Glacier Elegy

Peerna’s work has always been, primarily, fuelled by the forces of nature, but since 2017 she has taken on more specific approach. Furthermore, she is now deeply concerned with addressing the climate breakdown we are all surrounded by. This is seen specifically in her Glacier Elegy Projects. This on-going series of projects mostly consists of exhibition-size installations and live drawing performances, with the central piece being a large drawing. The large drawing, finally, is made with audience participation during her performance and subsequently melted with blocks of ice.

All in all, Glacier Elegy has had a strong impact on the participants in diverse communities and locations where Peerna has performed. This includes ArtDepoo gallery in Tallinn, Estonia; Glynn Vivian Gallery in Swansea, UK and Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT, USA.

Jaanika Peerna

“My elements are line and light; my materials are pencils, vellum and video camera. As a vessel gathering subtle and rapturous processes in nature, using the experiences and impulses to make my work. I record mist turning into water. By using 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.

Letting wind move my body so that it leaves traces on paper. I swim through thousands of layers of grey 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



‘March Solace series’  Interview

Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’ article

Key facts

View CV
  • Solo exhibitions include: Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT; Artdepoo Gallery and Vana-Wõromaa Cultural Center, Estonia; Salon b, Montreal; Espronceda Center for Art and Culture, Barcelona; Kentler International Drawing Space, New York.
  • Group exhibitions internationally, including 2021 exhibition Music as Image and Metaphor at the Bo Bartlett Center, Columbus, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY; Viinistu Art Museum Chapel, Estonia; International Paper Art Biennial, curated by Thalia Vrachopoulos, City Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria.
  • Performances: The Bronx Museum, New York; Hudson Valley Centre of Contemporary Art: Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT.
  • Collections: important international collections including The Bennetton Collection, Italy; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Wales; Garrison Art Center, New York; Novosibirsk Art Museum, Russia and Imago Mundi.