Friday, 11 December 2015, 24:00 | midnight

#70: John Bock

As conclusion of this year’s program we are delighted to present an exuberant clash of filmlive concert and performance:

Palms, 2007, 58:00 min
Palms is a road movie, shot on America’s West Coast and starring theatre and film actors Thomas Loibl and Rudolf Waldemar Brem, the film noir-inspired feature-length follows the journey of two German killers, as they navigate the physical and cultural landscape of Southern California—from iconic Schindler and Neutra residences in Los Angeles, to sleepy small-town bars in Twentynine Palms and the formidable site of Joshua Tree National Park. Dressed in matching black suits and sunglasses, the duo embark on a mission to find a mysterious man hiding out in the desert and encounter a number of intriguing figures along the way. Bock’s combination of serious actors utilizing his contraptions in a completely deadpan manner and uttering his trademark nonsensical language with forethought and aptitude reveals that, both as a performer and as a director, he can be truly brilliant.

It is a must to experience SAFI life – especially together with John Bock on stage. SAFI with her two colleagues ( Matthias Becker , guitar / bass , Frank Semmer , drums) starring John Bock performing on guitar is loud and uncomfortable. In her crossings between Indi and Avant-Garde Punk she pics up the general uneasiness and the conflicts of our time and transforms them into pure energy within Bock’s allover environment.

Many years as frontman of Blackmail and later KEN Aydo Abay recently came back with his new project ABAY. Already this spring at Kölnischer Kunstverein Aydo Abay gave a brilliant concert together with John Bock on the occasion of their Edition Fieber’s single release.


John Bock  (b. 1965 in Gribbohm in Schleswig Holstein, Germany) is one of the most colourful figures in the German and international art world. Since coming to fame in the mid-1990s with performances, lectures and multimedia installations he has steadily expanded the spectrum of his work. Over the last ten years film has come to play an increasingly central role, and more often than not the artist acts as director, scriptwriter and performer in his ever more complex and lavish productions. Of particular note in this context is his attention to language, which finds expression not only in the pithily eccentric yet carefully considered titles of his works and exhibitions. More importantly, language – the spoken word as much as gestures and facial expressions – forms the basis of his riotous performances and lectures.

Documenta 11 in 2002 established John Bock’s reputation as a ‘universal artist’. Equally at home in a wide range of genres, he blurs the divides between them and lifts the barriers between artist and audience. His contributions to the Venice Biennale – John Bock is a three-times participant – reflect the significance of his multifaceted oeuvre. In his exhibition FischGrätenMelkStand at the Temporary Kunsthalle Berlin (2010) he presented himself as artist and curator, integrating works by 65 different artists into his sprawling installation.

The principles of superimposition, concentration and transgression also underpin the comprehensive survey exhibition devoted to the artist at the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany. Im Modder der Summenmutation counters the static nature of a traditional retrospective exhibition. Echoing the character of the artist’s work, the exhibition embraces processuality and protean flux. John Bock’s answer to the question ‘What does exhibiting mean today?’ is an unreservedly daring gesture – a plea for the continuous expansion of the concept of art. – Bundeskunsthalle, John Bock Im Modder der Summenmutation, 2014

John Bock’s web site: