Jochen Gerz

b. 1940 in Berlin, Germany.
Lives in Paris since 1966. Studied literature, Sinology, prehistory in Cologne, Basel and London.
Professor at the Art Academy HGB of Leipzig.
Works in public spaces since 1967; photos/texts since 1969; installations, video, performances since 1971.


Selected solo exhibitions


1970    Concrete Poetry, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
1974    ADA2, Berlin Festival, Berlin
1976    XXXVII. Biennale di Venezia, German Pavilion (with Beuys and Ruthenbeck), Venice
1977    Documenta 6, Kassel, Germany
   Positions, Lousiana Museum, Humlebæck, Denmark
   Words, Whitney Museum, New York
1979    Sydney Biennale, Sydney, Australia
1980    Rosc Dublin, Ireland
1985    Art in West Germany 1945-85, Nationalgalerie, Berlin
1986    Behind the Eyes, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
1987    Documenta 8, Kassel, Germany
1988    De Facto, Royal Academy, Copenhagen
1989    Viewpoints on German Art, Musée d'Art Contemporain, Montréal, Québec (Canada)
1990    Um 1968 Konkrete Utopien in Kunst und Gesellschaft, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany
1992    Sydney Biennale, Sydney, Australia
1994    Hors limites, l'art et la vie, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
1995    Where Is Abel, Thy Brother? Zacheta Gallery of Contemporary Art, Warsaw
1996    Face à l'histoire, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
1997    Made in France, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
   Deep storage - Arsenale der Erinnerung, Haus der Kunst, Munich;
   Zationalgalerie, Berlin
   Deutschlandbilder, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin
   Positionen künstlerischer Photographie in Deutschland seit 1945, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin
   Kunst der Gegenwart, ZKM (Zentrum für Medientechnologie), Karlsruhe, Germany



J. G. LIFE AFTER HUMANISM, Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen 1992; Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe 1993; Cornerhouse, Manchester 1993; Saarlandmuseum Saarbrücken 1993; Staatliches Lindenau Museum, Altenburg 1993; Altes Rathaus, Potsdam 1994 (Germany and England)
J. G. LES IMAGES, Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg 1994 (France)
J. G. PEOPLE SPEAK, Vancouver Art Gallery 1994, Newport Harbor Art Museum 1995; Neuberger Art Museum, Purchase NY 1995; Winnipeg Art Gallery 1996 (Canada and USA)
J. G. SELF-PORTRAIT, Tel-Aviv University Art Gallery, 1995 (Israel)
J.G. THE FRENCH WALL, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg 1996;
Städt. Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf 1997; Musée d'art Moderne, Saint-Etienne
1997 (Germany and France)
J.G. GET OUT OF MY LIES, Museum Wiesbaden, 1997 (Germany)


Recent works in public space


1986    Monument against fascism (with Esther Shalev-Gerz), Hamburg 1986;
1993    Monument against racism, Saarbrücken, Germany
1995    Sine somno nihil / The Bremen questionnaire, Bremen, Germany (publication: Cantz/Hatje Verlag, Stuttgart 1995)
   The Plural Sculpture, Internet website, Adaweb, New York
   The dispersal of seeds, the collection of ashes (Esther und Jochen Gerz), UNPark, Geneva, Switzerland
1996    Das 20. Jahrhundert (The 20th century) (Esther und Jochen Gerz), Oberhausen, Germany (publication: Klartext Verlag, Essen 1996)
   Le Monument Vivant de Biron, Biron (publication: Actes Sud, Paris 1996), France
1997    3sat-Bildergalerie, Internet website, Swiss TXT, Biel, Switzerland
1997-98    The Berkeley Oracle, Internet website, and (1998) UC Berkeley Art Museum


Interactive works

Is there life on earth?, Paris, 1968-70
A request to over 800 people all over the world: would they like to get rid of personal objects, letters and so on in order to feel more free? 300 people sent back their plastic bags full. On April 16th, 1970 the sealed bags were buried on the construction site of the Montparnasse tower, 16 meters below street level.

The new telephone book of Paris, 1968
A request in four languages was sent to random people from the Paris telephone book and distributed to exhibition visitors abroad to contribute a sentence regarding their personal concerns that would be written next to their telephone number in the book.

The book of gestures, Heidelberg, Basel, 1969 - Frankfurt, 1973
5000 cards were distributed from house roofs in a street announcing to people that they were part of a book. Their contribution to this book was to go on doing what they were doing anyhow.

Inquiry concerning 600 workers of the chemical industry on the matter of art, Basel 1969. The answers to the questionnaire were exhibited at the Kunsthalle of the city.

The space, the reproduction, Paris, 1972
Visitors to a performance are slowly pushed out of the room by polaroid photographs of themselves taken in the room and displayed regularly in a distance of 1 meter on the ground. In the end the floor is covered by photographs reproducing people who have become spectators.

Exhibition of 8 people living in Rue Mouffetard, Paris, having their names written on the wall of their own street Paris, 1972. A collaborative piece with students of the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. 8 names were randomly chosen from mailboxes in rue Mouffetard. Posters with those names were pasted on different walls in the same street.

To live, Bochum, 1974
The installation floor (9 x 17 m) is covered with handwriting of white chalk (to live to live, etc.). The visitor has the choice to stay outside of the space in which case he cannot decipher the writing on the opposite wall or to penetrate the space, walk on the writing and erase the work.

A Danish Exorcism, Hellerup, 1976
The visitors to an exhibition were invited to produce the work for the exhibition by using polaroid cameras, pencils and paper. The works covered the empty walls.

Purple Cross for Absent Now, 1979
A performance with the artist absent from the space accessible to the public which is crossed by a black elastic rope. 2 video monitors facing each other are placed in front of the other two walls. The rope penetrates the wall on one side and continues outside of the space where it is stretched around the artist's neck. The monitors shoe the face and neck of the artist holding the rope. Visitors, in order to check out the relationship between the image on the monitor and the tightly stretched rope in the space, begin to touch the rope watching at the same time the expression of pain and angst its movement provokes on the face on the monitor.

Monument against fascism, Hamburg-Harburg, 1986-93
Collaborative work with Esther Shalev-Gerz. A commission by the city of Hamburg. A column, 12 meters high, covered with led, was placed in a suburb of Hamburg. People were invited, in 7 languages, to sign against fascism on its surface. Whenever the surface was filled with signatures, the column was gradually lowered. After 7 years the column was completely buried.

2146 Stones - Monument against racism, Saarbrücken, 1991-93
Collaborative work with the Art School of the Academy. A War II. Those names were engraved on the hidden side of the cobble stones forming the alley in front of Saarbrücken castle, which has always been the residence of all the different governments of the Land. This work was initiated by the artist.

The garden project donation, UC Davis, California, 1992
A collaborative work with students of the Art Dept. Small copper plates engraved with the answers of the university students were placed on different sites on the campus. The question asked was: "What would you do if you were asked to abandon religion?"

The Answer, 1992
A collaborative photo-textwork with students from UC Davis, Ca. 11 of overall 22 frames show as many nude upside down unmentioned in the work. (The question is: "What would you do if you were asked to abandon religion?"

The Plural Sculpture, 1995
An interactive sculpture on the Net created in collaboration with the Purchase Visual Art Division and adaweb, New York. In the first stage of this project potential contributors are asked about their relation to social/political/spiritual change, utopia, hope, as well as to art as a possible medium for this.
(The question was: "If art had the power to change your time, what would you ask for?")

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