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My work has developed from a focus on objects (life-sized sculptures until 1994), to solo performances (until 2003), to site-specific collaborative performance-based projects (since 2003), which primarily deal with cultural phenomena and narratives. I like to take idiosyncratic stories, societal processes or subjects of scholarly research and playfully transform them into tangible allegories.

I'm especially interested in finding – or inventing – unexpected connections, and investigating narrative structures. Each new work begins with a fresh conceptual approach, as I intentionally integrate local resources into my artistic process, especially the people I meet on site.

Working with participants who are mostly non-artists can be complex and challenging, yet highly enjoyable. I try to safeguard the energy that results from these interactions and to use it to create convincing formats. This calls for both artistic direction and social skills.

In addition to performance, I usually use photography, video and installation in my work. Occasionally I'll use drawings, texts and handmade objects in the installations.

"For nearly 15 years, Janet Grau has included professionals from various fields as well as local non-artist players in her experimental and interdisciplinary projects. She has developed an original form of theatrical art from her extensively researched and carefully staged collaborative projects. These combine improvisational dance and amateur performance, staged photographs and videos, sprawling object installations, costume and scenery landscapes, music, interviews, memories. The artist subtly choreographs the time-based and static art forms into an intriguing space for experience and thought, in which fractures, gaps and imperfections remain, and people from various backgrounds begin to communicate with each other about their desires, values and feelings, about existence, work, and identity."

– Ulrike Lorenz, Director of the Kunsthalle Mannheim (2015)

Education

1993-95

  • The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
    Studies in ceramics, sculpture, video, dance & performance. Degree: Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

1985-88

  • Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH, USA
    Studies in ceramics, photography, painting. Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

1982-84

  • Bowling Green State University & The University of Akron, OH, USA
    Fine art foundation courses

Selected Grants & Awards (since 1995)

Germany / Europe

2017

  • Kulturamt der Stadt Heidelberg: Project funding

2016

  • Innovationsfonds Kunst of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts: Project funding

2015

  • City of Heidelberg: Acquisition
  • Kulturamt Heidelberg: Project funding

2014

  • Rhine/Neckar District, "Atelier und Künstler" series: Funding for artist catalogue and exhibition, acquisition

2012

  • Kunstfonds, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden: Project funding
  • Amt für Kultur und Denkmalschutz der Landeshauptstadt Dresden: Project funding

2011

  • Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen: Project funding
  • Landesstelle für Museumswesen: Project funding

2010

  • Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen: Project funding

2008

  • City of Chemnitz / Lila Villa: 1st prize, competition to create an artwork in memory of the East German author Irmtraud Morgner

2006

  • Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen: Project funding
  • Kulturamt der Landeshauptstadt Dresden: Project funding

2005

  • Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen for the Kunstfonds Art Collection, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden: Acquisition

2004

  • Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen, Kulturamt der Landeshauptstadt Dresden: Project funding
  • Ostdeutsche Sparkassenstiftung: Artist catalogue edition,"Signifikante Signaturen" series

2003

  • Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig & Sachsen LB: Project grant

2002

  • Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen, Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf: Artist's residency

USA

1998

  • Alliance for Community Media, Central Region: Philo T. Farnsworth Award for Video Art

1997, 98

  • Experimental Television Center, Owego, NY: Artist's residency

1997

  • The Ohio Arts Council: Artists' Projects / Media Arts Grant
  • ART / OMI International Artists' Workshop, Omi, NY: Artist's residency

1996

  • The Ohio Arts Council: Individual Artist Fellowship for Performance Art

1995

  • Center for Communication Resources, Chicago: Regional Fellowship for Video Projects

Selected Performances & Installations, Exhibitions (since 1995)

Germany / Europe

2017

2015

  • extrem interessant (performance, video), Sammlung Prinzhorn @ Dubuffets Liste
  • Break it Down with Young roDDie (performance, dance, rap music, video & object), Rudolf Virchow Zentrum for Experimental Biomedicine in Würzburg @ Signalwege. Eine Begegnung von Kunst und Wissenschaft

2014

2012

2010

2008

  • durch und durch (performance & installation), Hellerau – European Center for the Arts Dresden @ WAS IST DAS WERT
  • Irmtraud Morgner Lesen (photography, video & interactive media as permanent installation / memorial), Stadtbibliothek Chemnitz

2007

  • portable attic (performance & installation), BWA Gallery Wrocław, Poland @ Zamieskanie / Sich Einrichten / Inhabiting
  • downsizing (video & installation) galerie baer, Dresden @ American Beauty

2006

2005

2004

2003

  • Wiedergabe (4-day performance & installation) Stadthaus Mannheim, zeitraumexit e.V. @ Performance festival DO YOU UNDERSTAND?
  • Rückblick / Re-Viewing (video installation) Kunsthaus Dresden @ Unbekannte Schwester, unbekannter Bruder

2002

  • thereisnoplacelikehome (performance) Neuer Sächsischer Kunstverein, Dresden @ Performance und Bild / Performance als Bild

2001

2000

  • [privat] (performance, together with Doreen Uhlig) Kunst Haus Dresden, flexible:X @ 5. Dresden International Performance Art Meeting

1999

  • miss perception (performance & installation) Festung Museum Dresden, Neuer Sächsischer Kunstverein @ Licht

USA

1997

  • worm (performance) Waldo's on High, Columbus, OH
  • time & again (performance & installation) ART / OMI & Eighth Floor Gallery, New York City, NY

1996

  • Espera (performance & installation) Cleveland International Performance Art Festival, Cleveland, OH
  • Picture of a Girl (performance) Hopkins Hall Gallery, Columbus @ Rumplestiltskin

1995

  • you make your bed (performance for video, shown @ long since familiar, see below)
  • …now you lie in it (performance & installation) Hopkins Hall Gallery, Columbus @ Fifty Works
  • still (moving) (performance & installation) The Clean Space, Columbus
  • long since familiar (solo exhibition: performance, video & installation) Hopkins Hall Gallery, Columbus
  • bed (performance & installation) The Farm Science Review, London, OH

Selected Group Exhibitions, Projects & Broadcast Video Work (since 1995)

Germany / Europe

2017

  • Video ist wie ein Bleistift Kunstverein Leimen

2016

  • Deltabeben. Regionale 2016 Port25 Raum für Gegenwartskunst Mannheim
  • Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst! Gedok women artists open your eyes Kloster Willebadessen

2014

  • Ortsbestimmung. Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Sachsen Görlitzer Sammlungen für Geschichte und Kultur

2013

  • Mein lieber Schwan! ACC Galerie Weimar / pélerinages Kunstfest Weimar
  • Das Antlitz! Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

2011

  • Folge der Generationen Motorenhalle. Projektzentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Dresden
  • Entdeckt! Rebellische Künstlerinnen in der DDR Kunsthalle Mannheim

2009

  • Ohne uns! Kunst & alternative Kultur in Dresden vor und nach '89 Ausstellung Prager Spitze, riesa efau. Kultur Forum Dresden

2007

  • Hot Destination / Marginal Destiny Motorenhalle. Projektzentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Dresden
  • Wenn der Sonnentau... Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Residenzschloss Dresden

2005

  • DRESDENER PFLEGEN (1.5 min.) Short film for the DRESDEN ROLLE Balance Film, Dresden

2004

  • Der zweite Blick Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig

2000

  • Gilgamesch: eine Lernreise (7.5 min.) Documentation of an educational project tackling functional literacy; Project Director: Dr. Marie-Cécile Bertau

USA

1999

  • Axlegrease, Squeaky Wheel / Buffalo Media Resources, Buffalo & New York City, NY
  • Independent Exposure, Blackchair Productions, Seattle, WA
  • Documental Experimental Film / Video Series, Santa Monica & Los Angeles, CA

1998

  • Athens International Film and Video Festival, Athens, OH
  • Short Film and Video Showcase, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH

1996

  • Intimate Conversations, The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA
  • Video Art Exhibition, Arts Festival of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

1995-98

  • Selected independently produced video works, broadcast on Community 21 Public Cable Access, Columbus OH: the string (7.5 min.) 1995; misty (1.5 min.) 1995; clean (3.5 min.) 1995; abuela (12 min.) 1996; limpia (5 min.) 1996; some thing about sisters (15 min.) 1996; please (5.5 min.) 1996; this moment (15.5 min.) 1997; dirty linens (17 min.) 1998; she sees her in idea (24.5 min.) 1998

Selected Press Reviews & Publications (since 1995)

Art-related Work Experience

Since 2014

  • Co-founder and Managing Director of the non-profit organization for cultural education called "die KulturMacher / Theaterwerkstatt Heidelberg e.V."

Teaching, Workshops

Since 2016

  • Visiting lecturer for artistic practice / performance at the Institute for Art, Music and Media of the Pädagogische Hochschule (University of Education) Heidelberg

Since 2014

  • Art und theater project *fabelhaft* for disadvantaged children in various locations in Heidelberg, funded by Künste öffnen Welten (project manager, instructor)
  • unARTig Kunst für Kinder und Jugendliche, Kunstverein Ludwigshafen: Workshops for families and children (instructor)

2012

  • QM Gorbitz, Dresden: Workshop on Art in Public Spaces (section leader)
  • Motorenhalle. Projektzentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Dresden: Workshop "Mehr als tausend Worte: Inszenierte Fotografie" (instructor)

2011

  • Semperoper Junge Szene, Workshop für Schüler aus zwei Pirnaer Gymnasien: "Musik spüren: Richard Wagners Lohengrin" (instructor)

2010

  • Clara-Wieck-Gymnasium Zwickau, 10. Klasse des künstlerischen Profils: Special project "Tableaux vivants: Inszenierte Fotografie und Video" (instructor)

2007-08

  • Sächsisches Bildungsinstitut / Freistaat Sachsen: Pilot project "Begabten Förderung Kunst / KunstSommerCamp 2008" (artistic director)

2001

  • SAEK Medienkulturzentrum Pentacon, Dresden: Introduction to Web Design (instructor)

2000

  • Institut für Anglistik & Amerikanistik, Technische Universität Dresden: Seminar "Contemporary Performance Art in America" (lecturer)

1997-99

  • Community 21 Public Cable Access, Columbus, OH, USA: Video & television production (instructor)

1996

  • Summer Institute for the Arts, Columbus: Performance & workshop "still (moving)" (guest lecturer)

1995-97

  • Project "NYHELP Honduras": Art projects with indigenous people in La Laguna, Honduras (volunteer)

1995

  • Summer Institute for the Arts, Columbus: Performance & workshop "still (moving)" (guest lecturer)

1994

  • Project "VAMOS!": Art instruction for children in slum areas of Cuernavaca, Mexico (volunteer)

1993-95

  • The Ohio State University: Instruction in ceramics, design & drawing, Undergraduate Level (instructor)

1992-93

  • Project "H.O.M.E." Philadelphia, PA, USA: Art workshops with homeless children & adults (instructor)

1989-93

  • Various cultural institutions in Philadelphia: The Clay Studio, The Main Line Center for the Arts, Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, University City Arts League, Allens Lane Art Center & The Jewish Community Center: Ceramic classes for children & adults (instructor)

1987-88

  • Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH, USA: Ceramic classes for youth (instructor)

Selected Lectures, Artist's Talks

2016

  • "I think I know what you want to say" Discussion with Prof. Dr. Klaus-Peter Konerding, Port25 Raum für Gegenwartskunst Mannheim

2014

  • "Looking back, looking anew" Lecture & discussion, Görlitzer Sammlungen für Geschichte und Kultur

2013

  • "Öffentliche Gelder für Kunst, sollen alle darüber entscheiden?" Discussion, riesa efau, Kultur Forum Dresden
  • "Unter uns: Ihre Texte und Visionen... Zum 80. Geburtstag der Schriftstellerinnen Irmtraud Morgner, Maxie Wander, Brigitte Reimann" Lecture & discussion, Deutsches Literaturinstitut Leipzig @ 17. Leipziger Literarischer Herbst, Leipzig

2012

  • "Mal schauen, ob es euch gefällt! Zu Gast mit Janet Grau: die Blue Pearls Cheerleader" Motorenhalle. Projektzentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Dresden

2010

  • "Hab' ihn gesehen!" Kunstsammlungen Zwickau

2008

  • "Free Space Utilization: On-Site Research. The Making of a Site-Specific Artwork" Motorenhalle. Projektzentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Dresden
  • "public attic / ausgestellter speicher" Universität Zürich, Switzerland @ International Workshop "Collectors' Knowledge: What is Kept, What is Discarded"

2007

  • "Freiraumnutzung: Recherchen vor Ort" Landesgartenschau Oschatz 2006
  • "Der ausgestellte Speicher ist voller Lücken" Stadtmuseum Dresden
  • "Pflegerische Handlungen" Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

2004

  • "Re-Viewing" with Maix Mayer & Stefan Rettich @ Kollektion Lindenau Leipzig

2003

  • "Die Rückseite" Kunsthaus Dresden

2002

  • "Überbleibsel" büro für kunst, Dresden for the Atelier Begegnung e.V.

1997

  • "Towards a History of Performance Art" Institut für Anglistik & Amerikanistik, Technische Universität Dresden

Other Professional Work Experience

Since 2010

  • Professional translations (German to English) for other artists and institutions (arts and culture)

1997-2001

  • EPG New Media, McGraw-Hill Companies, Worthington, OH, USA: Web design

1996

  • 1997 Cleveland International Performance Art Festival, Cleveland, OH, USA: Juror

1992

  • "Stories: The Narrative Art in Contemporary Craft", Luckenbach-Mill Gallery, Bethlehem, PA, USA: Juror

1988-89

  • Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, Doylestown, PA, USA: Production ceramicist