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Artist John Bock Defies Logic at CAC Malaga
Die Büchse, 2008 (Corea) 18’25’’ Copyright John Bock. Photograph: Kim Sandong Cortesía / Courtesy: Klosterfelde, Berlín; Anton Kern, New York.

MALAGA.- The Contemporary Art Centre of Málaga is presenting Nöle, the first solo exhibition by the German artist John Bock to be held in Spain. It comprises a selection of films and video installations, some of which have been specially made for the Centre’s Space 2. These works convey the unconventional, at times chaotic spirit of this creative figure who is considered to be one of the most influential members of a generation that includes Jonathan Meese and Matthias Weischer, both of whom have already been the subject of exhibitions at the CAC Málaga. Bock’s work is notable for its theatrical, performative nature in which nothing is what it seems and whose distinctive character makes it difficult to locate within any specific discipline.

John Bock’s work reveals the influence of Viennese Actionism, 20th-century avant-garde art and the work of artists such as Paul McCarthy or philosophers such as Nietzsche. His artistic universe is, however, so personal and changes in such a vertiginous manner that the spectator finds himself/herself plunged into a vortex that veers from admiration and curiosity to confusion and a defiance of all logic. The true subject of Bock’s work is its transgressive, controversial spirit, through which the artist aims to reinterpret rationality and in which nothing is what it seems. The centuries old human desire to impose order and harmony on an irrational, chaotic universe prevails in Bock’s creative activities and he draws on scientific disciplines such as mathematics in order to offer a satire on society and the customs that underpin it.

John Bock is presenting Nöle at the CAC Málaga, an ambitious project that brings together three video installations and three films, some of which have been specifically created for Space 2, and in which the artist reveals his wide-ranging creative repertoire, characterised by conscious reference to German Expressionism and the theatre of the Absurd.

For Fernando Francés, Director of the CAC Málaga: “John Bock combines in equal measures performance, video and installation with elements derived from happenings, body art and sculpture. Over the past few years he has focused on experimental filmmaking, through which he satirises genres such as soap operas, gore films and Hollywood movies. Through these films Bock not only reveals that he is a remarkable performer but also a major director in the making. His unique style combines the influence of Beuys, Tony Oursler, Mike Kelley and McCarthy, among others, demonstrating an innate vocation for the grotesque and extravagant.”

The more recent films made by Bock (born Gribbohm, Germany, 1965) have a greater narrative content and are longer than his previous ones. They make use of carefully chosen locations and professional actors in contrast to his earlier productions, which were characterised by abrupt takes and rapid sequences. For example, at the heart of Im Schatten der Made (2010) is the universal theme of love but set within a context of robots and the new technologies that dominate contemporary life. In the film an artificial man experiences human emotions towards a woman.

Die Büchse (2008), produced by ARKO, the Arts Council of Korea, is one of Bock’s most claustrophobic films, set in an underground space with defective ventilation in which a man and a woman wearing thick overcoats sweat profusely. Bock’s film has frequently been seen to recall Mad Max.

In the last of the films, Zezziminnegesang (2006), filmed in 16mm, the main character has Down’s Syndrome. His daily routine is characterised by repetitive habits through which he creates an absurd personal universe, to the point of sleeping underneath the bed as his dead mother is lying on top of it.

Three video installations complete the exhibition: Seewolf (2010), Bubble pi egg (2010), and Pest Kop (2005). They are presented in separate spaces within Space 2 at the CAC Málaga and are shown under dim lighting that suggests a normal cinema and also encourages reflection.

In 2008 John Bock was awarded the ARKEN Prize in recognition of his contribution to contemporary art on an international level and for the experimental and innovative character of his works. The winner of the 2009 edition of that prize was Olafur Eliasson.

The Contemporary Art Centre of Málaga | John Bock | Fernando Francés |

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