John Bock

The Death of Raymond Roussell

May 29 – Jun 28, 2003

Galeria Fortes Vilaça

Galeria Fortes Vilaça has the pleasure to present the exhibition The Death of Raymond Roussell by the German artist John Bock. The exhibition contains five sculptures and eleven drawings.

Bock first became known for his works involving performances, seen in prestigious art world venues such as the Venice Biennial and the Kassel Documenta, and in less common spaces, such as a car and a boat floating down a river.

His actions, or "speeches" as he likes to call them, take place in spaces that he creates himself, using a rudimentary, improvised architecture and everyday objects. He is an active participant in his installations, frequently calling for the audience, actors, and even animals to collaborate as well. He works integrates various discourses, including the visual arts, fashion, poetry, theater, and economic theory-Bock studied economics.

In five works shown in Fortes Vilaça, closed circuit cameras transmit the spectator's image to monitors placed in particular locations in the sculptures. In one, the spectator's image appears in the head of an animal, a kind of giant rabbit. In another, the visitor must lie down inside of a giant cardboard box, where dolls made from old clothes appear in the same position, creating a small confusion between object and spectator. In his drawings, Bock frequently uses marketing charts and fictitious economic graphs, a paradox of familiarity and strangeness from the meeting rooms of any large company.

The exhibition's title is a reference to the French writer Raymond Roussell, whose famous play Impressions d'Afrique influenced the Surrealists. Other influences on Bock include the work of Paul McCarthy, Joseph Beuys, and the movements Fluxus and Viennese Actionismus. "If Mathew Barney, Joseph Beuys, and Bertolt Brecht can be called masters of complex, insoluble subjects, then John Bock, more than any other of his generation, has good chances of entering into their august company," says the curator Yilmaz Dziewi, of Cologne's Ludwig Museum.

This is the first time that John Bock is showing his work in Latin America. Bock has had many shows in museums and galleries in the United States and Europe. He participated in Documenta XI, the 48th Venice Biennial, the Berlin and Valencia Biennials, and the Triennial of Yokohama, Japan.