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Les Joynes in Shapeshifter (2014), filmed at the Mongolian Border with Siberia at nomadic Tsaatan reindeer herder encampment. Image 2014 © FormLAB and ARS New York

Les Joynes (US)

American, born Southern California, 1963. Lives and works in New York. Education: BA (1986) and MSc. (1988) Boston University; BA Fine Art, Central St. Martins, London (1996); MA Fine Art, Goldsmiths, University of London (1997); Master of Fine Art, Musashino Art University, Tokyo, Japan (2001); PhD, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK (2012).


Artist as Explorer: Les Joynes is an American multi-media artist based in New York. Growing up in California and living in Asia and Europe he has used photography, video, sculpture, and performance for twenty years to explore more than 41 countries. His museum and gallery installations reflect his interest in exploration, cultural anthropology, and interdisciplinary experimentation which are exhibited as “museums-within-museums.”  His work on artist exploration has been featured books Seoul Foundation for Art & Culture (Kim Hong-hee et al)) Art and Research at the Outermost Limits of Location-Specificity, 2017 (Lowry, Joynes et al ISBN # 978-0-692-32297-0) and in an upcoming Cambridge Scholars book on the artist as geographical and seminautical explorer in 2017.



Artist’s Rendering of installation of Wunderkammer at Inside Out Art Museum, Beijing (2017).

He is founder of FormLAB (formlaboratory), an art series conceived in 1996 at Goldsmiths, London as a nomadic laboratory to explore the phenomena of artmaking. Inspired by André Breton’s Cadaver Exquis (1918) and Cabaret Voltaire’s (1916) interdisciplinary performances and creates exhibitions that explore notions of heterotopia (Foucault, 1978) and shifting cultural signifiers creating nomadic windows onto cultures.

FormLAB exhibiton at Brazilian Museum of Sculpture, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2012)

He has studied under Michael Craig-Martin and Gerard Hemsworth at Goldsmiths, University of London; James Rosenquist through the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Education Program, New York; Japanese celebrated public artist Hisayuku Mogami in Tokyo; and Jean Cardot at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-arts in Paris. He drew inspiration on object collection from dialogues with Andy Warhol in New York in the mid-1980s. Joynes’ practice has also been influenced by the works of Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, Panmarenko, Joseph Beuys and since early his childhood, the 20th century arctic explorer Robert E. Peary.

FormLAB on US Fulbright-Hays and CEC Artslink sponsored expedition to Tsaatan reindeer herders at MOngolian border with Siberia (2014)

FormLAB exhibiton at Zanabazar Museum of Fine Art, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (2014).

He has exhibited at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia; Museu Brasileiro da Escultura, Brazil; Maejima Art Center, Japan; Seoul Foundation for Art & Culture, Korea; Bangkok Experimental Film Festival, Thailand; Nordisk Kunstnarsenter, Norway; Museum of Modern Art, Wales, UK; AIT Tactical Museum, Japan; Norimatsu Museum, Japan; Michael Steinberg Fine Art, New York; Sandra Bürgel Gallery, Berlin; Nylon, London; Mizuma Gallery, Tokyo. His work was selected by the US Department of State for its exhibition in Mongolia at Zanabazar Museum of Fine Art (2014).

Les Joynes (left) creating assemblage sculpture at Seoul Foundaiton for Art and Culture, South Korea, 2012

Joynes has been awarded grants and support from Fulbright-Hays; CEC ArtsLink, The Ministry of Culture, Mongolia; the Ministry of Culture, Brazil;. He has been awarded a Fulbright-Hays Grant for FormLAB’s upcoming exhibition at Beijing’s Inside-Out Art Museum in China (2017).


He is Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS); the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI); and the Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN), The University of the Arts London where he researches collection and archive and their relation to local, national and global identity. FormLAB is a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) ArtSpire Project.

Four Fathers (2011), oil on linen, 54 x 72 inches

Artifact (minitel) from FormLAB-Treignac, France (2010), mixed media, electronics, plastic, pigment, height 16 inches width 13 inches

His work is is in public and private collections in the UK, US, Japan and has recently been acquired by the Museu de Arte Brasileira (MAB), in Sao Paulo Brazil. In New York he is represented by Thomas Jaeckel Gallery.

All images and text 1996-2016 © FormLAB,  Les Joynes, ARS, New York. All Rights Reserved.