With an overload of energy and humour, John Bock combines performance, video and installation in his total installations, creating peculiar, surreal universes from found objects which he alters and performs in them and with them. Bock’s total installations employ the concrete world around us as their basis, acting as critical commentaries to contemporary society.
Wühl um die Klumpen, 2002-03
DescriptionThe work Wühl um die Klumpen is an extension to a performance of the same name which John Bock gave at Documenta 11 in Kassel in the summer of 2003. In addition to an edited film about this performance, the work comprises a number of props from it, including bizarre homemade ‘puppets’ and objects constructed from furniture, suitcases, rubber hoses, homemade clothing, plastic bottles of pungent detergent, electric appliances, etc.
One puppet is made from a large wardrobe with entrails of glued-up bicycle tubes, a red plastic bucket, joined plastic bottles with various liquids and a very simple, crudely made wooden construction. It is the mechanics controlling the large, deformed papier-mâché lump constituting the head of the wardrobe body. From both side cabinet flows a stream of stuffed trousers, sewn together in pairs top to top, appearing as misshapen freaks from a dream or a fantastic fairytale.
The imaginatively combined objects are placed in relation to each other, and several of them are connected with intricate tube and wooden constructions. A backdrop for the installation is a huge canvas made from sewn together shirts in various colours and patterns, onto which the edited film from the performance is projected.
About the work
Wühl um die Klumpen is a total installation comprised of a hotchpotch of building materials. In the edited film Bock adopts the role of puppeteer for his odd constructed puppets. He also plays a mad scientist running amok in his laboratory, and an imaginative artist who turns the world upside down and creates it anew. He produces absurd objects from found ones which he combines in unpredictable ways and introduces as props in both a strange and amusing story.
About Bock’s art in generalJohn Bock’s works are positioned in the borderland between performance, video and installation. He creates a surreal, chaotic universe, with himself the guide whose lectures pave the way through this chaos, pointing out unpredictable and wondrous connections. His works reinterpret our rational understanding of the world as a form of absurd theatre. Thus he illustrates that the world is not necessarily shaped as we believe it to be. At the same time he points out that as a consequence, our usual definitions and models of explanation cannot be expected to offer any ultimate truth about contemporary society.
Literature"John Bock: Koppel", ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, 2004
Marie Louise Helveg: "A Jester in Wonderland", ARKEN Bulletin, vol. 2, 2004
"John Bock: Saltimbocca", Oldenburger Kunstverein, 2002
"John Bock: Gribbohm", Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2001
Jens Hoffmann: "Ars combinatoria", Parkett no. 67, 2003
John Bock grew up on a farm in northern Germany and the life there informs his artistic universe.....