COPENHAGEN.-The German multi artist John Bock is awarded the ARKEN Prize for daring the grotesque and absurd in his mad works. His works generate everything from curiosity to indignation. The Prize is John Bock's first personal honorary award. ARKEN's two Travel Grants of 50,000 Danish kroner each are awarded to the video artist Eva Koch and the drawer Morten Schelde.
A happy John Bock (b. 1965) received Denmark's biggest art award of 100,000 Danish kroner Thursday evening at ARKEN. In his speech to the artist ARKEN's director Christian Gether said: John Bock is given the prize for daring the grotesque, absurd and mad, staking himself in the work. Indirectly he exposes our own insatiable desire to create order and system in a world that is fundamentally chaotic. He criticises any and all scientific thought that has defined our perspective on the world in the past centuries. And he constantly explores the boundaries of art.
Art's scientist - John Bock combines sculpture, installation, performances and film. Alongside his studies at Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg he read economy at university. In his works he utilises this background: Art, nature and science meet anew. He often performs as a starry-eyed scientist with homemade three-dimensional contraptions, speaking fluent gibberish with terms borrowed from the world of science. In this way he parodies man's desire for logic and systems.
Brilliant or bonkers? - John Bock's work Rooting Around the Lumps from 2002-03, in ARKEN's collection, is an example of Bock's crazy art. The work both fascinates and irritates the visitors of the museum for is he brilliant or bonkers? The work is an installation comprised of props from the artist's breakthrough performance - a mad puppet theatre - given at Documenta in 2002. Onto a canvas of sewn together shirts, a video of clips from this performance is projected. There is no progressive plot; suitcases slam open and shut while puppet heads zoom up and down. John Bock races round his self-made universe, talking and narrating in his characteristic scientific gibberish.
Off the stage - In recent years John Bock has concentrated on experimental art films. He caricatures several film genres: Hollywood movies, costume dramas and violent films. He still stars in the films but increasingly employs actors.
John Bock has participated in two Venice Biennials (1999 and 2005) and in Documenta 11 (2002). He has given performances and had solo shows at MoMA in New York, ICA in London and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, among others.