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John Bock

Press release

John Bock – Im AntliTZ des SchädelapparaTZ

Curated by Kathrin Becker

John Bock has developed a new project for Neuer Berliner Kunstverein that intermeshes elements of instal- lation, film, and performance in four different spaces. The pivotal work of the exhibition Im AntliTZ des SchädelapparaTZ is a 4.2-meter-high metal wedge hanging from the ceiling of the exhibition space. It serves both as an action space for four dancers and one actor, and as a set for a film that will be shown at n.b.k. from June 25, 2019, onwards. The transient element of the performative and the time-based nature of the medium video permeate each other. Being an integral part of the exhibition, performative “lectures” involving the five live actors will take place on June 17, June 25, and Friday, June 28, 2019, at 7 pm respectively. In two adjoining rooms, Bock has created another independent, extensive installation. In the “Leibraum” (body room), a second room level was installed using a grating floor, thus creating a gloomy- looking space which can only be looked at by the visitors from below. A slit silicone body is at the center, liquid dripping from its hair. The walls of the lower level are lined with metal plates. Through another opening one enters the “Stube” (parlor), where a claustrophobic scenario unfolds. The rooms and performances refer to the lifestyle of the US terrorist and former professor of mathematics Theodore Kaczynski (* 1942, called „Unabomber“) and the Hanoverian serial killer Fritz Haarmann (* 1879 † 1925).
In his works, John Bock brings together live actions, drawings, sculptures, installations, film sets, and film projections to create a Gesamtkunstwerk. His spatial arrangements, which are characterized by material combinations, can become a place for live actions, which the artist calls “lectures”. His work is built on a darkly tinted humor, which expresses itself not least on a linguistic level by means of neologisms, repetitions, onomatopoeia, and surprising language combinations.

Informed by his biography, Bock shows an affinity to agricultural and economic terms and objects, which is also reflected in the artist’s environments. Organic material, earthy consistencies, fermentation processes, and living animals occur alongside of architectural spaces, self-built kinetic sculptures, modeled language plots, and psychedelic elements. Objects can become decisive elements in the films and live actions. Repeatedly, Bock himself appears as a protagonist in his extensive installations. His movies and environments draw on expressionist film as well as western, horror or thriller movies. Even though his films and live actions elude clear interpretations, there is an obvious desire behind Bock’s oeuvre to constantly expand the concept of art. His main concern is the dissolution of boundaries in art, whether as to the abolition of genre boundaries and of static work concepts or as to the relationship between recipient and artist.