John Bock : 2 handbags in a pickle

John Bock : 2 handbags in a pickle

Insa Art Space of the Arts Council Korea

Photography: Jan Windszus
Courtesy: Anton Kern, New York, Klosterfelde, Berlin
© 2007 John Bock. All rights reserved.

November 18, 2008

John Bock : 2 handbags in a pickle
22 November 2008 – 8 February 2009

“PARA – SCHIZO, ensnarled” Arko Art Center
“Films & Videos”, Insa Art Space
Arko Art Center, Arts Council Korea
100 Daehakro Jongno-gu Seoul 110-766 Korea

Insa Art Space, Arts Council Korea
90 Wonseo-dong Jongno-gu Seoul 110-280 Korea

Press Opening November 21 2008 5 pm., Arko Art Center

Opening Live Lecture by John Bock 21 November 2008 6 p.m., Arko Art Center

Friday Film Screening 5 p.m. on every Friday from 5 December 2008 until 6 February 2009 Insa Art Space

Wide Floor Talk “Your Existoform 12 December 2008 2 – 4 p.m., Arko Art Center

Arts Council Korea(ARKO)’s Arko Art Center(AAC) and Insa Art Space(IAS) introduce the solo exhibition and new production of John Bock first in Asia (b. 1965, based in Berlin).

This project was initiated from new film commission by ARKO to the German Artist, which is realized as 40 min. – long two channel video “PARA – SCHIZO, ensnarled”(2008) through an intense, organic collaboration throughout an yearlong period of time. In this project, the two institutions made their first joint venture of integrating two functions by the needs of each work phase. IAS performed itself as a production collaborator whose role was an intimate team player with the artist on the actual production site. AAC, as a communicating and distributing agent of the production, framed the artistic context of John Bock and the process of collaborative production by means of artwork presentation, artist archive composition, public talks and screening programs.

The whole project is composed of exhibitions at two venues, John Bock’s live “lecture”, a screening program of the artist’s cinematic videos, and an accompanying workshop programs. The exhibition at AAC centers around a new film, “PARA –SCHIZO, ensnarled” that incorporates objects, performance, sculpture, costume as well as video. A live lecture is held on the opening day at the exhibition gallery. The exhibition at IAS features a selection of eight single channel videos and runs a separate screening program on every Friday for four long cinematic films by John Bock.

John Bock’s New Film, “PARA – SCHIZO, ensnarled”(2008)
40 min., 2 channel video, PAL
Director_John Bock
Produced and presented by Arko Art Center and Insa Art Space of the Arts Council Korea
Courtesy_ Klosterfelde, Berlin; Anton Kern, New York

The work of John Bock is shaped in the process during which the intervention and action of the recipients become real and the energy generated in the interplay takes the form. His new production is the result of dynamic collaboration between two “handbags”, the artist and institutions, artist (Germen film crew) and Korean film crew.

“Para – SCHIZO, ensnarled” is a sequence of situational frames that move along the principle of emotional and formal symmetry. It shows two figures who, leading two separate paths of quest in parallel, converge, clash, destroy and reproduce each other in a cycle of mutual interplay. Corresponding to this double narrative, the video is also formed in two channels, and the images and words in each channel are intricately composed as to be divided into a half or synchronized into a symmetrical whole. Each fragment of scene, while retaining the particular quality of John Bock’s videos in its sensuous imagery, charged plot, dramatic action and poetic lines, are connected in a complex and multi-layered structure.

The exhibition title “2 Handbags in a Pickle”, referring to John Bock’s vocabulary, means two microcosms that are situated in another higher level of universe(system, individual, organism, structure, etc). The two immanent elements formulate an absolute, abstract symmetry, but never imply a certain relative values. John Bock sees the two elements as equivalent two’s that generate energy in a series of mutual interrelationship between the two variations. What is essential for the artist in these two opposing elements is to observe dynamic mechanism of the relationship, in which each element develops an interaction, evolves and transforms respectively into a mutant. These two elements run as maintaining the parallel to each other, but also can be converged, intersected, and connected into a cycle of circuit. The structural aspect of these two elements therefore is transmittable and porous, not rigidly bipolar. Since this title is an archetypal sign that can be interpreted differently in multiple kinds of contexts, it can be applied to, for example, to Korea’s political situation, our general social relationship, our body – beings as a biological structure, the notion of self as psychological and philosophical existence, and even the relationships between the two art institutions.

John Bock does not make an artwork to represent a certain subject, but rather designs the project so that it can perform the subject in total. The metaphor of “two handbags” is repeated and expanded like an echo from the external level between the two institutions, through the internal level within the museum between the two gallery spaces, to another internal level inside of his own works between his object and performance, his performance and video, his video and installation. Each handbag, while also being a schizophrenic mutant running parallel, is “ensnarling at each other” within a Pickle of John Bock, that in turn cannot help but being another structured (pickled cucumber) microcosm instead of a raw cucumber.

For more information about the project and accompanying programs, please visit the website of AAC and IAS.

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Insa Art Space of the Arts Council Korea
November 18, 2008

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