Text for group exhibition Glass Puzzle organized by Mary Simpson at Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY

Glass Puzzle

It is as if we have all been lowered into an atmosphere of glass. –Anne Carson, The Glass Essay*

I called the work ‘Glass Puzzle’ because it was a puzzle in space. I was interested in making a sensual space. It’s also a puzzle about two women, about whom there is no explanation. –Joan Jonas

One version of an event is like a body without a shadow. If we flip our idea of the split, from Freud (division from trauma) or Janet (retreat from hysteria), instead of a psychic break we arrive at a fracturing whole, shifting into versions and variations as a natural tear along the lines of the self: a puzzle.

A game of mimesis, with rules and logic but no goal. At the start of the game a split occurs, one body—one performer—into two. The self scatters, and in that moment a gap is formed, between the mirror (the screen) and the double (the self).

A glass puzzle plays with that gap, exploits it. It splits, then works to conceal the split, picks up a mask to substitute one for another, a surrogate. A glass puzzle is a puzzle in space—perpetually pieced back together, never completing itself.

Joan Jonas