GERZ Jochen

Berlin, 1940-

Artiste allemand. Vit et travaille à Paris

[ 1958 Etudes universitaires Cologne (sinologie, lettres anglais/allemande)

1960 Séjour à Londres

1962 Etudes universitaires Bâle (préhistoire)

1968 Interventions dans l'espace publique

1969 Photos / textes

1972 Installations de vidéo et performances

1976 Biennale de Venise, pavillon allemand (avec Joseph Beuys et Reiner Ruthenbeck)

1977 documenta VI, Kassel

1986 Le Monument d'Harburg contre le Fascisme (Esther et Jochen Gerz)

1987 documenta 8, Kassel

1993 2146 Pierres - Monument contre le Racisme, Sarrebruck

1995 Le questionnaire de Brême/Sine Somno Nihil

1996 Le Monument Vivant de Biron

1997 Les Oies Du Feliferhof


[The interactive works of Jochen Gerz

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 exhibi- tion 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.

Enquiry 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 17m) 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 invitated to produce the work for the exhibition by using polaroid cameras, pencils and paper. The workscovered 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 artistÔs neck. The monitors show the face and neck of the artist holding the rope. Visitors, in order to check out the realitionship 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, 1986Ð93, Hamburg-Harburg. Collaborative work with Esther Shalev-Gerz. A commis- sion 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 Ð Monument against racism, 1991Ð93, Saarbruecken. Collaborative work with the Art School students of the Academy. A Research was done among the jewish communities in Germany to gather the most complete list of jewish cemeteries in the country before World War II. Those names were engraved on the hidden side of the cobble stones forming the alley in front of Saarbruecken 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, 1992, UC Davis, California. 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 student portraits. The other 11 frames show their answers to a question unmentioned in the work. (The question is: "What would you do if you were asked to abandon religion?"

What you buy, 1995 A photo-text work exhibited together with a small box for white chalk. The public adds on the 15 plexigalass frames variations to the text of the work WHAT YOU BUY IS WHAT WE FEAR, replacing BUY by: eat, believe, hate, do etc. At the end of the exhibition, the photo-text work is changed, covered with contributions.

The Plural Sculpture, 1995 A questionnaire on the Internet ("If art had the power to change your times, what would you ask for?") Collaboration with Purchase College of Art students, SUNY.

The Bremen Questionnaire-SINE SOMNO NIHIL, 1990Ð95. A collaborative sculpture with 232 Bremen citizens (among 50,000 asked) who answered the questions 1. What topic should the work address? 2. Do you believe that your ideas can be realized in a work of art? 3. Would you like to participate in the art work? The authors of the work, a commission of the city, decided in 6 public seminars, that the sculpture did not have to be a material object.

The living Monument, Biron 1995-96. A commission to replace the existing "monument aux morts". The 150 inhabitants of the village of Biron, in southwest France, are asked a question which remains secret, while the answers on small acrylic plates are affixed to the existing monument, changing its visual aspect and meaning (unfinished work in progress).

source :]

Liens sur le Web

"Le Monument Vivant de Biron"

"The Berkeley Oracle"

"Le questionnaire de Brême/Sine Somno Nihil"

"Les Oies Du Feliferhof"


Repère, Ouvrage
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1977, Documenta VI
Allemagne, Cassel

1986, Exposition. Jochen GERZ. 'Dimanche tous les jours dimanche'
France, Troyes (10), Passages-Centre d'art contemporain

1987, Documenta VIII
Allemagne, Cassel

France, Troyes (10), Passages-Centre d'art contemporain

1991, Exposition. Michaele ZAZA, Jochen GERZ, Raymond HAINS, Keiichi TAHARA
France, Troyes (10), Passages-Centre d'art contemporain

1995, Biennale de Venise
Italie, Venise

1998, Beaux-Arts Magazine, n°164

1998, Débat, Les artistes face à l'histoire : l'engagement
France, Nantes (44), Cité des Congrès

1998, Exposition Voices
Pays-Bas, Rotterdam, Witte de With, center for contemporary art

1998, Exposition. Jochen GERZ
France, Paris, Maison Européenne de la Photographie