- Artist: John Bock
- Creation date: 2010
- Object type: Textile art
John Bock trained at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg and is inspired by the German tradition of action art, as manifested in Fluxus concerts at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, several of Joseph Beuys’ actions, and Gruppe ZERO. Bock’s own art is hard to categorize: he works sculpturally but also performatively, with a keen interest in dadaism and surrealism.
In this textile work, Bock’s art seems fairly abstract, and he uses elements from material art, conceptual art, and arte povera. Untitled contains several elements that are untypical for Bock, and it has a purer, more reductive style as compared with many of his overwhelming spatial installations. The piece clearly refers to the German avant-garde tradition, above all to textile works by Bock’s mentor, Franz Erhard Walther, which were intended for performative use.
The components of this large wall piece can be removed, and were originally intended as “clothing” that spectators could wear. The piece also includes pockets that contain two sculptures, as well as a drawing that shows how one can use the clothing and the colourful textile “sausages” hanging next to them.
As with much of Bock’s art, the piece has strong sexual connotations, and the phallic but soft textile sausages, the long underwear, and the string vest, more typically worn by older men, all refer to male identity and gender issues. In its materials and style, however, the piece also relates to feminist art.