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John Bock: Hell’s Bells

On display at Berlinische Galerie from Jul 26-Aug 21, John Bock's German feature film premiere evokes a kind of disgust that stays stuck in your throat.

Image for John Bock: Hell's Bells
John Bock 2017, Photo by Martin Sommer, Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ London

Concurrent with John Bock’s somewhat over hyped first major museum exhibition in Berlin, In the Moloch of the Presence of Being, Berlinische Galerie is also presenting the German premiere of his feature-length film Hell’s Bells. This Kafka-esque Western with excellent actors (including the well-known Bibiana Beglau and Lars Eidinger) evokes a kind of disgust that stays stuck in your throat. One of the most impressive things, besides the amazing costumes, is the poetic and metaphorically driven dialogue in the vein of the American TV series Deadwood that uses a kind of aristocratic fancy talk to discuss subjects that are quite the opposite. Much like performances-turned-films by artists such as Paul McCarthy and Matthew Barney, the absurd, wandering plot plays with the genre in an impressive spectacle that defies an intellectual approach. Here, the film elevates the works presented in the exhibition by giving the sculptural objects purpose. Props such as toothpaste (used repeatedly for medical reasons) create a bizarre combination of both timeless and contemporary materials. So don’t miss this second run of Hell’s Bells, showing on a loop during gallery hours till the exhibition ends on August 21. You may leave feeling nauseous, but you won’t be disappointed.

John Bock: Hell’s Bells, Jul 26-Aug 21 | Berlinische Galerie, Kreuzberg