Twilight Proximity Corpus
February 20, 2021
In his tenth exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery, German sculptor and performance artist John Bock presents twenty-five new 3D collages. While constructed out of simple materials, these works contain the entire Bockian universe. The exhibition will run through February 20.
Twilight Proximity Corpus gathers a group of illustrious characters: Klaus Kinski, Greta Garbo, and Romy Schneider are among the many iconic performers and actors that mingle with the artist, as well as fellow sculptors, models, and several of Bock’s film protagonists. Twilight Proximity Corpus is about the softly glowing light from the sky after sunset, and about the state of obscurity and gradual decline that comes with it. Twilight Proximity Corpus is about bodies caught in spatial structures, proximity and intimacy, restrictions and boundaries, and about the emotions sparked by these relationships. Twilight Proximity Corpus is also about the “corpus”; a body transubstantiated from flesh and blood into silicone and cardboard, rather than the flesh and blood of the Eucharist.
John Bock’s process is simple. Collage is the guiding principle. Cardboard, photographs, and discarded common objects infused with silicone are the materials. The resulting wall-bound constructions resemble three-dimensional charts, models for set-ups in some arcane psycho-physical experiment, surrounding the collaged-in participants like mental stabilizers. Ritual, participation, and activation within these walls inform the narratives. The artist allows the viewer to enter a subjective space to experience a state of otherness, alienation, and transformation.
A photo-cut-out of Klaus Kinski in white blazer and black tie, enhanced with traces of glitter. An ominous cylindrical construction protruding from his forehead is mounted on a reflective surface and tightly braced by two cardboard brackets spray-painted red and white. Kinski, however, with his arms behind his back as if straightjacketed, sporting a mop of hair that would put Boris Johnson to shame and a painfully dreamy expression, appears severely restricted and uneasy inside the spatial structure. He stares pitifully at Bock’s expired ID card for some sort of revelation. Kinski, the notorious libertine, seems in deep distress.
John Bock’s collages suggest that an artwork does not remain static but rather comes into being through the interplay of body and material. They are images of activated sculptures and allude to the artist’s own large participatory installations, performances, and films. Traditional pictorial logic is turned upside-down. The body, John Bock suggests, becomes a medium in that it can transform life processes into images. The collages allow the viewers space in which to imaginatively explore what the activated work might look like, and to think about their own body in the artwork. They seem to say: Become sculpture!
John Bock (born 1965 in Gribbohm, Germany) is a sculptor and multi-media artist who lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (HfBK) in Hamburg in 1997 under Franz Erhard Walther. His work is included in the public collections of the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburg; the Guggenheim, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum für Modern Kunst, Frankfurt am Main; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Tate Modern, London; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among many others. Recent solo exhibitions include LiquiditätsAuraAroma, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim (2019); The Next Quasi-Complex, Prada Foundation, Milan, Italy (2018); Dead + Juicy, The Contemporary Austin, Austin (2017); and In the Moloch of the Presence of Being, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin (2017). He has participated in major international exhibitions including the Salzburger Festspiele, Salzburg (2020); Venice Biennale (2013 and 2005); Performa, New York (2007); Lyon Biennale, Lyon (2005); Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, (2004); and Documenta 11, Kassel (2002).