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At Home in the Body: Janine Antoni

image of an artist performing a piece under tarp of large brown paper

Janine Antoni in collaboration with Anna Halprin, Paper Dance, 2013. Premiered at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, 2016. Artwork © Janine Antoni. Image courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York. Photograph by Carlos Avendaño.


I’m a storyteller with many stories to tell: the story of the material and its cultural meaning; the story of how the object is made and its life in the world; and the story of my body in relation to objects and other bodies.

From the beginning my body has been at the center of my work. It’s both my tool for making and the source from which meaning arises. I try to enter my objects while leaving traces of my interaction on their surface for others to discover.  

As I focus on my body, its gender becomes paramount. I am immediately aware that the world responds to me as a woman first, among all the other qualities that define me. In my work I embrace my female lineage both biologically, art historically, and politically. It is through the female lens that I explore themes of family, primal urges, consumption and embodiment. With sculpture and performance I carefully articulate my relationship to the world, giving rise to emotional states and a physicality which speaks to the viewer's body.

For the past ten years I have practiced various forms of somatic movement modalities to inform my sculpture. While my sculpture has allowed me to represent this experience, performance has pushed me to instantaneously expose the ideas arising from and through the body. Meeting Anna Halprin and engaging in her philosophy has not only opened up a whole new world to me it has also had a profound effect on how I view my own practice. I am excited to be showing our collaboration, Paper Dance at The Contemporary Austin from January 23rd to March 17th.


Janine Antoni was born in Freeport, Bahamas. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and earned her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1989.

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