John Bock

Biography of John Bock

German multi-media artist, John Bock, has no equivalents in the contemporary art world. His performances, featuring flying food, cod scientific lectures, and comically grotesque occurrences, make pointed comments on politics, aesthetics, and society. As much influenced by avant-garde theater as circus clowns, viewing his Action Art in his constructed settings is an immersive experience, driven always by the idiosyncratic inner-logic of the artist. Once his lectures are finished, his settings are left on stage, becoming a sort of “theatrical collage”.


Featuring psycho-babble, art, sex, and social theory, many of his lectures are delivered in a childish sing song, or in the tones of serious theatre. Taken together the so-called “lectures” become highly-engaging works, that simmer with turbulent desires and the urge to connect with the audience. According to John Bock we live in a “heavy numb dumb world”, and he wants us to identify the profundity and absurdity of our experience of being.


John Bock transforms familiar domestic objects into dysfunctional machines that force us to look at the adult world with an entirely new perspective. The objects are handmade or re-modeled accessories from the lecture, such as clothing, electrical equipment (like hoovers and mixers), cotton buds, bits of DIY, or even “plastic diagrams” that illustrate his bizarre mathematical equations.


Since 2004 John Bock has been professor of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe. He was a prominent part in two Venice Biennials, 1999 and 2005, as well as in documenta 11 in 2002. He has had solo shows at MoMA and the New Museum both in New York, the ICA in London, and Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. Born in Hamburg in 1965 he now lives and works in Berlin.


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