18 July to 24 September 2018
Conceived by the German artist John Bock (Gribbohm, 1965; lives and works in Berlin) for the Podium exhibition space, the project reflects his own practice that freely employs performative elements with audience engagement, installation, environment among others. His performances, called “lectures” by the artist himself, parody academic presentations and didactic methods. They are enacted in environments crafted from everyday objects, found materials, detritus, furniture etc., arranged to create a deliberately absurdist, or illogical universe. During his live events, visitors are involved in an experiential and participatory relationship with the artist.
For this new project, Bock transforms the ground floor of the Podium into his own eccentric and surreal world, a theatre of the absurd intermingliming dark comedy with disciplines such as philosophy, economics, music, fashion as well as fragments of daily life, altogether overcoming the conventions of contemporary art.
At the center of this new exhibition project are two large installations from the Collezione Prada: the mobile stage of When I’m looking into the Goat Cheese Baiser (2001) and the living room of Lütte mit Rucola (2006). Incorporating new experimental architectures, fragmentary walls, make-shift structures and a selection of existing artworks, the project takes the form of a circular path leaving a small plaza in its midst.
The objects on display exist both as actual settings and tools from John Bock’s lectures or remains of his film sets. When transformed into an installation, Bock defines this kind of assemblage as a “summutation”, the mutation of what is left after a lecture or after a film shoot has taken place. Together with the video footage of each performance, the “summutation” becomes the visual outcome of the artwork itself, documenting the creative process in which the artist had activated the installation and determined its functions.
Lütte mit Rucola (2006) originates from the correspondent film, where the artist himself plays a crazy killer cutting up his victim alive. In the Podium, the film set is turned into an installation, essentially consisting of the living room where the torture took place. Housed in its own newly built room, the audience witnesses the relicts of the bloody scene from a balcony overlooking the space. When I’m looking into the Goat Cheese Baiser (2001) is a mobile set that Bock used in one of his live events, an assemblage of kaleidoscopic props waiting to be animated by the artist, encompassing a video documenting the lecture held by Bock in New York in 2001.
Around the small plaza, other constructions find place, all accessible through stairs, tiny doors, curtains, tunnels. A tent room made out of a grid of stuffed socks houses an assemblage of “dead equipment.” Another room hosts an installation consisting of two vitrines, both displaying and hiding their heterogeneous and surreal content at the same time. Furthermore, text panels are showcased, in which fragmented narrations and diagrams provide an additional and written proof of the artist’s experimental communication and anti-academic interaction with the audience. Inside a cylindrical tent, a chair is hanging from a chain, bearing physical attributes which together touch upon the underlying theme of the “LeibSein”(BodyBeing), according to Bock’s vocabulary.
The exhibition The Next Quasi-Complex will culminate in a live lecture, scheduled for 8 September 2018, in which the artist and the actors Lars Eidinger and Sonja Viegener will activate the mobile stage of When I’m looking into the Goat Cheese Baiser, navigating around the installations “like a fly around a carcass.”
John Bock, Lütte mit Rucola, 2006. Photo: Jan Windszus. © John Bock 2006