Photo: Adrian Buckmaster, 2021
Jil Guyon is a multidisciplinary visual and performing artist. Her work has been described as “new, dramatic, beautifully executed” (Ms. Magazine) and “moving, an emotional labyrinth” (Die Presse, Vienna).
Guyon's productions have been presented at theaters, cinemas, museums, galleries, and concert halls worldwide, including Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Queens Museum, Museum of the Moving Image, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
As part of the Toronto Urban Film Festival, curated by filmmaker Guy Maddin, her performance video, Widow, was screened throughout the Toronto mass transit system, averaging over 2 million viewers per day. Her critically acclaimed multimedia dance-theater piece, At the Borders of Eternity, based on the Diary of Anne Frank, was staged at WUK Wien (Vienna) during a brief period when the far-right took political power in Austria. It was televised throughout the country and was the first theatrical work granted exclusive use of the diary. The video recording resides in the Kulturarchiv Wein.
Guyon has collaborated and performed with many notable artists such as video/performance pioneer Joan Jonas, choreographer Noemie Lafrance, vocalist Helga Davis, singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls), and the satirical butoh group Celeste Hastings and The Butoh Rockettes.
Jil is a Lumiere prize (Canada) nominee and a recipient of the Tarkovski grant and numerous awards in experimental film. She was previously Curatorial Associate at Neue Galerie New York where she designed and wrote the Schiele and Contemporary Culture section of the Egon Schiele catalogue raisonné that accompanied the exhibition. She holds an MFA in painting and art history from Hunter College where she studied with art critic and theorist Rosalind Krauss, and sculptor Robert Morris.
I consider art homeopathic—a healing poison. In my image-based movement experiments for stage, chosen sites, and new media, I explore the dark regions of the female psyche, revealing an unsettling, absolute beauty. Working from my subconscious, I eschew singular intent in favor of a nonlinear visual narrative that combines autobiography with deep presence and meticulously crafted movement. Through this descent into the unknown, a path clears for an experience of empathy between myself and the audience—allowing each viewer to bring their personal history, current preoccupations, and future vision into the work.