Palms. John Bock blurs artistic convention, constructing a boundless world all his own. 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.
John Bock blurs artistic convention, constructing a boundless world all his own. Since the 1990s, the artist has become well known for his live, unpredictable performances, in which he has often employed uncanny costumes, assemblages and objects that both referenced and examined a range of social, economic, philosophical, and aesthetic interests. Although Bock’s performances were documented on-camera early on, his practice has gravitated toward multi-media works in recent years, reflecting his current interest in the narrative structures and genre conventions of film.
For his one-person exhibition, Bock will present Palms (2007), a new project co-commissioned by REDCAT, and the artist’s first major work produced in the United States. 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. In their search for an informant, they meet a tall, beautiful bartender who delivers a lively monologue to a hip-hop beat, and a three-person rock band (The Sibleys) that plays on a remote, open-air stage while dressed in red, overstuffed costuming. Everything goes as planned until the two killers abandon their car and take to the desert by foot. From that moment on, the outcome of their mission becomes uncertain.
The U.S. premiere of Palms (2007) at REDCAT will be presented within the context of an expansive sculptural installation. In addition to the objects and costumes that appear in the film, Bock will also incorporate the vintage, sea-foam green convertible that was driven by the two killers as well as a large new sculpture made of stuffed fabric.
Born 1965 in Gribbohm, Germany, John Bock attended the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (HfBK) in Hamburg. He has exhibited internationally for the last 15 years, including solo exhibitions at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, The Moore Loft in Miami, Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and Arken Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. He also participated in Documenta 11 (2002), the 2001 Yokohama Triennial and the 48th Venice Biennale (1999). Bock lives and works in Berlin.
John Bock: Palms is co-commissioned by REDCAT and is made possible with
the support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Nimoy
Foundation, John Rubeli and Regen Projects, Los Angeles. Free gallery
admission underwritten by generous support from Ovation TV. The Standard
is the official hotel of REDCAT.
Opening reception: Wednesday, September 17, 6–9pm
Special musical performance by The Sibleys
631 West 2nd Street (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) - Los Angeles
Admission to the gallery is always free
Gallery hours: noon-6 pm or intermission, closed Mondays