Im Modder der Summenmutation

3 October 2013 to 12 January 2014

Opulent films, labyrinthine installations, complex lectures and high-spirited performances – these are the components that make up John Bock’s art universe and shape the transgressive character of his work. The exhibition John Bock – Im Modder der Summenmutation at the Art and Exhibition Hall is conceived as a retrospective with a strong focus on the artist’s current production and presents a fusion of the key strands of John Bock’s creative practice.

Several of the artist’s spectacular performances – which he refers to as ‘lectures’ – are restaged in modified form as ‘RE-lectures’. What’s more, the exhibition forms the set for a new film. Produced live at the Art and Exhibition Hall, it will be screened there later in the exhibition. Existing installations from a wide range of different contexts converge with new works and mutate into a new dynamic structure. In line with the artist’s irreverent style, Im Modder der Summenmutation is a survey exhibition that undermines the very idea of an orderly survey. John Bock brings together the highly disparate genres he feels at home in, creating a complex yet artistically consistent panorama of his work thus far.

Born in Gribbohm in Schleswig Holstein in 1965, John Bock 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.

The exhibition is accompanied by the publication Meechfieber, the first comprehensive documentation of all of the artist’s lectures and films to date. Meechfieber is illustrated with numerous drawings and sketches by the artist.

Show bibliography
  1. John BockIm Schatten der MadePhoto: Jan Windszus © John Bock, 2013
  2. John-Bock-Card: Dauer-Eintrittskarte in begrenzter Auflage© John BockJohn-Bock-Card: Dauer-Eintrittskarte in begrenzter Auflage

Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Museumsmeile Bonn
Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 4
53113 Bonn
T +49 228 9171–200

Opening hours

Mondays closed
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Thursdays–Sundays, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
(including public holidays even those which fall on Mondays)

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