06 Oct 2020

Jaanika Peerna's 'Glacier Elegy Brooklyn' Performance at Dumbo, Brooklyn

Unframe London

Jaanika Peerna's 'Glacier Elegy Brooklyn' Performance at Dumbo, Brooklyn

Estonian artist Jaanika Peerna performs ‘Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’ next to the East River in NYC.

On Sunday 4th October, Estonian artist Jaanika Peerna performed a moving and powerfully personal performance on the waterfront in Brooklyn. This performance is the latest instalment of her ‘Glacier Elegy’ series.

Glacier Elegy Brooklyn
‘Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’, 2020. Jaanika Peerna. Courtesy of Effy Grey
Jaanika Peerna
‘Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’, 2020. Jaanika Peerna. Courtesy of Mairo Notton

In this case, for this particular performance, Peerna performs on the waterfront on the East River, overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. Importantly, the mourning over the melting glaciers transcends into a mourning and lament for the city. Equally important, she chooses this venue for the performance as an act of embracing a city that she loves that has suffered so much.

Glacier Elegy Brooklyn
‘Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’, 2020. Jaanika Peerna. Courtesy of Christine Sciulli

In these strange and uncertain times, we at UNFRAME were especially thrilled to co-produce this live art performance by Jaanika Peerna, in Brooklyn, New York, last weekend. Moreover, the piece was her first performance since February. Not only did she have an intimate audience with her, but the performance was also live-streamed around the world. Therefore, through this performance, art lovers around the world could feel the touch of the ice with her. In a time of limited human interaction, crucially, Peerna was aware of both her digital and physical audience during the performance, creating immense inclusivity amongst everybody.

Glacier Elegy Brooklyn
‘Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’, 2020. Jaanika Peerna. Courtesy of Effy Grey

Above all, much of Jaanika Peerna’s recent work is a lament to glaciers and natural ice. In the same way, her ongoing project ‘Glacier Elegy’ forms the central core of her recent practice. And importantly, through this iconic work, we see a contemporary artist at her prime addressing the climate emergency.

View the performance in its entirety here…

‘Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’, 2020. Jaanika Peerna.

In this case, Peerna was accompanied by performers including Coco Karol who elegantly aided her and created a deeply engaging atmosphere. With this in mind, she has often collaborated with dancers within her live work.

Glacier Elegy Brooklyn
‘Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’, 2020. Jaanika Peerna. Courtesy of Christine Sciulli
Glacier Elegy Brooklyn
‘Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’, 2020. Jaanika Peerna. Courtesy of Effy Grey

Glacier Elegy

Equally importantly, Jaanika Peerna’s ongoing ‘Glacier Elegy’ project consists of both large scale installations and participatory performances, where large scale drawings, made with her audience, are then melted away together with blocks of ice. Above all, the collective act reflects the collective grief, and also the collective responsibility. Within these performances, the ice operates simultaneously as a positive drawing tool and as an act of erasure.

In particular as well, the performances are a reminder that it is our human actions that cause the destruction of glaciers. Hence, Peerna becomes one with nature, its active agent, a representative on the scene.

Glacier Elegy Brooklyn
‘Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’, 2020. Jaanika Peerna. Courtesy of Effy Grey
Jaanika Peerna Performance
‘Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’, 2020. Jaanika Peerna. Courtesy of Effy Grey

Similarly, she describes, “While I can never compete with nature, there is much I can learn from the workings of it in order to embody its force, which ends up making my works through me.”

Jaanika Peerna
‘Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’, 2020. Jaanika Peerna. Courtesy of Christine Sciulli

Glacier Elegy’ has, likewise, had a strong impact on the participants in diverse communities and locations where Peerna has performed. For example, this includes ArtDepoo gallery in Tallinn, Estonia; Glynn Vivian Gallery in Swansea, UK and Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT, USA. Together with these, this is the fourth performance of this ongoing project.

Glacier Elegy Brooklyn
‘Artnews – Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’, 2020. Jaanika Peerna

‘Glacier Elegy Brooklyn’ is an independent project by Jaanika Peerna Studio co-presented by UNFRAME.

About the artist

Important to note, Jaanika Peerna is an Estonia-born artist who, since 1998, has lived and worked primarily in New York. In addition to performance, Peerna’s work encompasses drawing, video and installation, often dealing with the theme of transitions in light, air, water and other natural phenomena. Similarly, it also addresses environmental concerns and the issues of climate change. Equally important, she often collaborates with designers, dancers and musicians within her performances.

  • To begin with, her 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.
  • Secondly, her group exhibitions include Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY; Viinistu Art Museum Chapel, Estonia; International Paper Art Biennial, curated by Thalia Vrachopoulos, City Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria.
  • Important to note, performances include: The Bronx Museum, New York; Hudson Valley Centre of Contemporary Art: Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT.
  • Finally, she is apart of a number of 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.