John Bock: Klutterkammer

John Bock: Klutterkammer

Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

September 21, 2004

John Bock

24 September – 7 November 2004

Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
The Mall, London SW1
12 – 7.30pm daily
 Phone: +44 (0)20 7930 3647
 Fax: +44 (0)20 7306 0122


John Bock, Erdmann, 2002 Courtesy Galerie Klosterfelde, Berlin and Anton Kern Gallery, New York   

This is my history.
– John Bock
Vito Acconci, Matthew Barney, Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Blackmail, Anna and Berhard Blume, Boyd, Gunther Brus, Maurizio Cattelan, PunchDrunk, Buckminster Fuller, Gelatin, Bendix Harms, Georg Herold, Douglas Hickox, Mike Kelly, John Maynard Keynes, Martin Kippenberger, Eley Kishimoto, Kurt Kren, Elke Krystufek, Sarah Lucas, George Mallory, Paul McCarthy, John McCracken, Otto Muhl, Jessica Ogden, Manfred Pernice, Ascan Pinkernelle, Sigmar Polke, Chris Pounds, Rasputin, Dr. Jane Rendell, Raymond Roussel, Christoph Schlingensief, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Robert Falcon Scott, Cindy Sherman, Andreas Slominski, Robert Smith, Paul Thek, Rikrit Tiravanija, Franz Erhard Walther, Robert Cary-Williams, Daniel Zizzo, Heimo Zobernig

For his first major exhibition in the UK, German artist John Bock has approached the format of the solo exhibition in a highly idiosyncratic way. Rather than presenting a survey of his films, performances and installations produced since the mid-1990s, Bock has conceived an exhibition, which reviews his major interests and influences. The title of the exhibition refers to Bock’s upbringing on a remote farm in northern Germany where it designates an area used as a storage or working environment. In a similar fashion, Bock has treated the ICA galleries as an enormous thinking and play space.

Bock’s work is unique, if not peerless and eludes any form of categorization. In his practice, the artist samples a diverse range of artistic and non-artistic disciplines resulting in disordered and often absurd connections. Mixing art references with theatre, economics and fashion, Bock has realized a vast and often anarchic collage. Within the Lower Gallery of the ICA four seemingly haphazard buildings, connected by a series of crawl spaces, ladders and walkways, have been constructed with everyday materials from hay bales to aluminum foil, textiles to scaffolding. Into these structures, Bock has assembled a surreal collection of artworks, appropriating sculptures, paintings, films and artifacts. In the Upper Gallery, Bock has created his own version of the black box cinema (showing the infamous Theater of Blood, 1973 by Douglas Hickox, starring Vincent Price), a tree house and a more ethereal, though equally as disorientating, maze of washing lines.

Bringing together the strange and the curious Klutterkammer continues the artist’s frantic investigation into the possibilities for how we experience and make sense of the world. Avoiding a single position that attempts to rationalize contemporary art or thinking, Bock has created an unrestricted installation full of intentional inconsistencies that never aims at reaching any form of conclusion but rather resembles the often confusing realities of contemporary society.

The exhibition will also feature a performance by the artist on the opening night, which will be filmed and screened throughout the duration of the exhibition. In addition, the ICA will present the UK premiere of five of the artist’s most recent films in a specially designed environment in its Concourse Gallery.

John Bock, who was born in 1965 near Hamburg and is currently living in Berlin, is one of the most celebrated German artists to emerge in the late 1990s. While his work is relatively unknown in the UK it has been presented in exhibitions around the world including solo presentations at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2000) and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2003). Among his countless group-exhibitions are The Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2004), Manifesta 5, San Sebastian (2004), Documenta 11, Kassel (2002) and the 48th and 50th Venice Biennial, Venice (1998 and 2003).

Lecture Series
A series of free introductory lectures on the core themes of John Bock’s practice:

Wednesday 29 September, 6.30pm
Fashion: Jessica Ogden, Fashion Designer
(Lower Gallery)

Saturday 2 October, 6.30pm
Agriculture: Chris Pounds, Farm Manager, Hackney City Farm
(Lower Gallery)

Wednesday 6 October, 6.30pm
Architecture: Dr. Jane Rendell, Director of Architectural Research, The Bartlett
(Lower Gallery)

Saturday 9 October, 6.30pm
Economics: Daniel Zizzo, Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of East Anglia
(Lower Gallery)
Fashion Show
Sunday 17 October, 7pm
On the occasion of the Frieze Art Fair, John Bock will organize a catwalk show. The artist will rework the clothes of UK fashion designers, including Boyd, Eley Kishimoto, Jessica Ogden and Robert Cary-Williams, with second hand fabrics.
(Lower Gallery)

Open Theatrical Rehearsals
Monday 18 October – Sunday 31 October
Over a two-week period the theater company PunchDrunk will be in open rehearsals within the Galleries at the ICA.
(Lower Gallery)

Wednesday 3 November, 7pm
John Bock will present a concert by the highly acclaimed German rock group Blackmail.
(ICA Theater)

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Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)
September 21, 2004

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