VTV Classics (r3): John Bock at Anton Kern Gallery, New York (2010)

This is episode 75 in our series of highlights from our archives. In 2010, German artist John Bock had his fifth solo show at Anton Kern Gallery in New York. The show featured a two-channel video projection, “PARA – SCHIZO, ensnarled” group of hanging soft sculptures, and “Büchse” can), a metal sculpture reminiscent of a submarine. We attended the show’s opening reception, which included a dance lecture (performance).

VTV Classics (r3): John Bock at Anton Kern Gallery, New York, r3 Series, No. 75. First published on VTV on March 19, 2010.

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Complete video (43:34 min.):

Complete video

Press text:

February 10, New York—The fifth solo show at Anton Kern Gallery of German artist John Bock includes a two-channel video projection, a squid-powered metal sculpture with video, a group of hanging soft sculptures, and a lecture dance-performance on the opening night (March 1), that allows the viewer a unique chance to witness the transformation of words, actions and everyday materials into distinct sculpture. This body of work speaks a new rigorous formal language and shows the artist expanding forms and using new materials.

Displayed in the back gallery, “PARA – SCHIZO, ensnarled,” entirely filmed and produced in Korea, is the first double projection in Bockʼs large film and video oeuvre. Seemingly entangled in a love story, the two protagonists are on distinct but parallel paths, converging, clashing, imitating and in the end destroying each other in a cycle of mutual interplay and action. The film is a sequence of situational frames of emotional and formal symmetry in which images and words are intricately composed between the two channels. The script follows a series of word-collages—recomposed classical, modern, and imagined references—forming a language experiment in which the actors become empathetic participants, intuitively responding to Bockʼs text and built environment, where seemingly makeshift objects play a central and active role.

“Büchse” (tin can), placed in the center of the gallery, is an ominously dark metal sculpture, cut and built into precise shapes, reminiscent of a submarine or other aquatic vehicle. Here and in the accompanying film Bock employs the language of travel and discovery, and leads the viewer into the dark realm of exploration and terrains unknown. The group of wall-hangings expands Bockʼs vocabulary of assemblage into strictly conceived sewn-fabric soft sculptures. Although incorporating the occasional found object, they have become new formulations of distinct sculptures while following the artistʼs esthetic of diagrams and exploratory drawings.

Bockʼs work has been exhibited widely including solo shows at Arko Art Center, Seoul, Korea; REDCAT, Los Angeles (both 2008), Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Germany (2007); State Opera, Berlin (2006), FRAC, Marseille (2005), the ICA London (2004); and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2000); as well as participations in the Biennale di Venezia, the Lyon Biennial (both 2005), the Carnegie International (2004), Documenta 11 (2002), and the Yokohama Triennale (2001). A large sculpture-video installation by John Bock is currently displayed in the exhibition “Imaginary Museum: Dakis Joannou Collection” at the New Museum in New York.

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