Rod Bianco Gallery is proud to present the first solo exhibition by John Duncan in Norway.
John Duncan is an artist who has lived and worked in Los Angeles, Tokyo and Amsterdam, currently lives and works in Bologna. His body of work includes performance art, installations, contemporary music, video art and experimental film, often involving the extensive use of recorded sound. His music is composed mainly of recordings from shortwave radio, field recordings and voice. His events and installations are a form of existential research, often confrontational in nature.
Artwork in solo exhibition at Rod Bianco Gallery, Oslo, January 2011:
"... I wanted to punish myself as thoroughly as I could. I'd decided to have a vasectomy, but that wasn't enough: I wanted my last potent seed to be spent in a dead body. I made arrangements to have sex with a cadaver, bodily thrown out of several sex shops before meeting a man who set me up with a mortician's assistant in a Mexican border town..."
BLIND DATE was performed in order to torture myself, physically and psychically. The sound recording of the session in Mexico was made public to respond to what I saw as a general situation created by social conditions, and to render any further self-torture of this kind, especially psychic self-torture, unnecessary for anyone to perform as a creative act. These experiences -- the acts themselves, the shame that inspired them, isolation in Japan soon
afterward, suddenly in a completely alien culture unable to read, understand or communicate with anyone -- all taught me far more than I could possibly have anticipated. As a result, my perception of all existence, including my own, has permanently and fundamentally changed. They have shown life in all forms to be an incredibly rich, timeless, continuous cycle, with death and corporeal existence interwoven as part of the process. I've come to see myself as a microscopic and insignificant part of that process, while at the same time the very embodiment and center of it. I've come to understand the act and experience of learning as sensual, as a form of beauty. Since BLIND DATE, all forms of my work are created to raise questions, to find out everything I can about who I am without fear or judgment, and to encourage you to do the same. Think of me as you will.
PLASMA MISSIVES series
Dreams, hand-written in Duncan's blood. Inspired by sutras copied centuries ago by a Japanese Buddhist monk in his own blood.
1990 - 2005
Dreams and late-night pre-sleep insights, attempts to discover truths and rationalize existence that are bound to fail, combined with non-related
images to encourage connections between them that are unique to each reader. Printed in black on black paper and bound in a book too large and
heavy to hold, limited to ten copies, that render the act of reading one of probing secret, esoteric writings.
WATCHING AND LEARNING
Collage with Japanese pornographic images and a Polaroid self-portrait.
1989 - 1996
Performance series based on a physical form of psychic therapy invented by Dr. Wilhelm Reich where Duncan loses all self-control, becoming a conduit for energy that passes through him to and from the audience.
Wearing a mask that covers his head, Duncan knocks on the front doors of two people he knows well. The moment each man answers, Duncan points a gun loaded with blanks point-blank at his face, fires once and runs.
1986 - 1987
Commercially produced adult video series written, directed and scored by Duncan, later broadcast in Tokyo over his pirate television station TVC 1.
"Repressed sexual impulses give rise to authoritarian behavior." -- W. Reich, M.D.; The Mass-Psychology of Fascism A small amount of fish extract is poured into the ventilation system of a Los Angeles city bus shortly before the bus begins its standard route. Set in buses with windows that cannot be opened, the subliminal odor acts as a subtle aphrodisiac on the unsuspecting passengers. Performed twice, 30 days apart. On day 1, a normally passive commuter kicks a stranger, a pregnant woman, off of the seat they're sharing in order to put up his feet.
This causes a fight among the other passengers, half of whom side with the commuter. On day 2, a group of normally quiet ultra-polite children, going home from a school specializing in disciplined behavior, tear college career ads from the inside of the bus, shred them and attack each other with the scraps.
Images based on the Rorschach inkblot psychology tests. Duncan's blood on acetate sheets, mounted between Plexiglas panels.
DREAM HOUSE - RAGE ROOM
A 7 story building in the shape of a human brain, composed of interconnecting 6 x 4 x 4 meter modules or rooms, mounted together and held in suspension by cables extending from a central mast. Each room, such as RAGE ROOM, is designed to embody or evoke a particular state of consciousness, set in an area of the building that corresponds to its known or suspected location in the brain
John Duncan was born in the United States in 1953, has lived and worked in Tokyo and Amsterdam and currently resides in Bologna where he teaches audio art at the Accademia delle Belle Arti. His events and installations have recently been held at Färgfabriken and Gallery Niklas Belenius in Stockholm, Ex-Teresa in Mexico City, XSNOSA in Palermo, Netmage 7 in Bologna, PX2 and PX3 in Piombino, O'Artoteca in Milan, Atlantic Waves in London, The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston, Eco e Narciso in Turin, MUTEK in Montreal, The Compound in San Francisco, Teatro Fondamenta Nuova in Venice, Teatro Piccolo Jovinelli in Rome, the Noorlands Operan in Umeå, Fylkingen in Stockholm, the 2nd Gothenburg Biennial and Galleria Enrico Fornello in Prato. He has performed with Musica Nova in Tel Aviv and Zeitkratzer in Berlin, directing these ensembles in live events. His CD releases THE CRACKLING (1996 with Max Springer), TAP INTERNAL (2000), PALACE of MIND (2001 with Giuliana Stefani), FRESH (2002 with Zeitkratzer), PHANTOM BROADCAST (2002), INFRASOUND-TIDAL (2003), THE KEENING TOWERS (2003) and NINE SUGGESTIONS (2005 with Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen, a.k.a. Pan Sonic) are all considered by critics and composers alike to be benchmarks in the field of experimental music. His work in radio, video and performance has been shown recently at the Getty Center (Evidence of Movement and California Video) as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles (Out of Actions:Between Performance and its Objects, 1998); the Osterreichisches Museum für Angewandte Kunst (MAK), Vienna; Museu d'Arte Contemporani, Barcelona (MACBA); and Museum of Tokyo (MOT)