The Jane/Joan Dialogues


Nine custom-made tables, vintage and archival pigment prints, documents, lenses and objects, various sizes.

—No, because I was dealing with fiction, and I was adding fiction upon fiction.

The psychiatrist Jane V. Andersson studies one year above the American author Sylvia Plath, at Smith College in Northampton, US. They move side by side in the same circles without being close friends and are also during a time committed to the same institution. The Jane/Joan Dialogues explores Plath’s interest in “the double” and its consequences. 

Sylvia Plath’s only novel and feministic landmark The Bell Jar was published in 1963, just one month before she decided to end her life, and due to the semi-biographical contents, the book was not released until almost ten years later. In the late 1970’s a film adaptation was made but without any larger success, and it is soon forgotten. In the film, a scene was added where the lesbian undertone regarding the character Joan Gilling is enhanced, and she approaches the main character Esther Greenwood (Sylvia Plath’s alter ego) with the idea of a suicide pact “as lovers”. In the 1980’s the added scene led to a legal process against Ms Plath’s estate and the people involved in the film, the process being initiated by Jane V. Andersson, who is said to be the basis of the book character Joan Gilling. 

Using a series of articles from the New York Times as well as the court records and material from the legal case, objects and documents from Smith Colleges’ archives, a fictional dialogue is created and enhanced, between the characters Jane V. Andersson, her psychiatrist and the film’s screenwriter.

The Jane/Joan Dialogues:  Exhibit No. 33: The Bell Jar, Original Script 2nd Draft (facsimile), added scene, c-print, optic lens (detail).
Installation view, Kalmar Art Museum, 2013. Photo: Conny Karlsson Lundgren.
Libel Suit (The Bell Jar), New York Times 87/01/14 (detail).
The Jane V. Andersson Papers (Smith College) and (Court Documents),pigment print on glossy photo paper, paper, optical lenses.
Copy of first outline of the Bell Jar chapters (detail). Sylvia Plath Collection, Smith College, Northampton US.
The Jane/Joan Dialogues: The Jane V. Andersson Papers (Smith College), pigment print on glossy photo paper. Sylvia Plath Collection, Smith College, Northampton US.
Esther and Joan (The Bell Jar), added scene, vintage press image.
Front: The Jane V. Andersson Papers (Court Documents), installation view, Kalmar Art Museum, 2013. Photo: Conny Karlsson Lundgren.
The Jane/Joan Dialogues: Exhibit No. 3: Marjorie Kellogg ’s copy of The Bell Jar (facsimile), pigment print on glossy photo paper.

The Jane/Joan Dialogues is an independent part of the work series and solo exhibition The Sylvia Fractions at Kalmar Art Museum in 2013. Other works in the series include Y’all Better Quiet Down!/Hallå, kan ni lugna ner er! and 87 Sylvia. Made possible through the archives at Smith College, Northampton US, with funding from IASPIS: the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual and Applied Arts.Exhibitions: Kalmar Art Museum, Kalmar SE. IASPIS Open Studios, Stockholm SE.

 ©MMXIV Conny Karlsson Lundgren