“If there is a goddess, there is a prostitute” when I started being interested in contemporary art, someone told me so. It is one way of thinking, which has influenced my thoughts. A very impressive phrase that symbolizes his attitude: “art is splendid because there are various expression and works”. However, the thing which I saw in John Bock’s “Luette mit Ruccola” exhibit was a picture and installation which has an intense expression that transcends human reason and was neither a prostitute nor a goddess.

The main part of this exhibition was in two rooms. The first room is installation of a small room in a mess. The back room is a screening room with antique chairs and sofas.

The first room was messed up oddly. A shelf was fixed with a vice to a desk in the center, and strange devices are placed everywhere. In addition, furniture was arranged haphazardly, it didn’t make any sense. Red paint was scattered all over like blood.

What was shown in the second room might be called “a film drama” relating to this installation.

The film which lasted about 35 minute starts with a scene in which a man enters the room of a victim with girl Luette. He pushes the victim aside forcibly and enters the room, binding her with no sympathy. He then begins preparations for an insane experiment under control by the girl indirectly. He ties the frightened victim upon the table. When the experiment is about to peak, he puts the girl outside.

More than heartless, the film shows the detail of his experiment. He pulls a tooth of the victim and tears off a nail, breaks off a finger and cuts off ears. He plays with parts of the victim’s body, but there is nothing satisfies him at all, so the experiment continues. However, they seem to have some certain rule that I can’t find. The experiment seems to be a game that the girl performed outside.

Eventually, he washes his bloody face and covers his bloody body with a blanket, and he plays with the girl bored outside the door. He shows his gentle face as a father in front of her.

I looked in the first room again after watching the macabre film. I was amazed how different an impression the first room had. The suffered face of the victim played across my mind whenever I saw the red paint scattered around. I seemed to have played into the hands of the artist.

The art objects in the exhibition seemed to be the devices shown in the drama.
He usually makes this type of art, but it was his first time using them in a film drama. Normally he uses such device-like art in a psychological performance called “Lecture”. He filmed his performance, and showed it with the installation.

I was glad to have an opportunity to face one artist stepping into the next stage, besides talking about likes and dislikes or aesthetic judgment.

John Bock / Luette mit Rucola
Date: 29th April – 29th July, 2006
Place: Galerie Klosterfelde
Address: Zimmerstr. 90/91, 10117 Berlin-Mitte

Text and Photos: Yoshito Maeoka
Translation: Naoko Wowsugi

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