John Court

John Court (b. 1969, UK) has been living in Tornio, Finland, since 1997. Court is a durational performance artist. Time is one of the most important elements in his work. Often, he performs for 8 hours, the length of a work day. Other times he performs throughout an entire event or during the opening hours of the specific venue (museum, institution), in which the event takes place, on each single day. Lately he has been interested in letting the objects and materials that he uses in his performances determine the duration of his work. He does not consider his performances as solo pieces, since the element of collaboration is inherent in them, be it through his engagement with curators, organizers, artists, viewers, objects, spaces and time. Court’s works are responsive to the site and often the continuous, repetitive action creates a rhythm that runs parallel to that of the site. In all his works, he is fundamentally concerned with drawing or writing, as drawing connects line, movement, space and time. He has exhibited extensively in Scandinavia, and has been invited to perform at major events such as UP-ON Live Art festival Chengdu China, SIGNAL Festival in Brussels Belgium (2017) Beijing Live in China (2016), Viva! Art Action festival in Montreal, Canada (2015), 7a*11d in Toronto, Canada, DigitaLive in Guangzhou, China (2014), SpaceX Gallery Exeter in UK (2012), Guangzhou Live Art Festival in China (2010), ANTI Contemporary Art Festival in Finland (2010), the Venice Biennale (2005) and the Liverpool Biennial (2004).


John Court’s artistic practices explore the physical and psychological limits of his own body. With the performance as his proceeding, Court seeks to approach certain personal experiences from his childhood and present day. In his performances, he always follows a similar pattern: the body as the main element, time and the interrelationship of performance with other disciplines, mainly writing and drawing. This interest in introducing certain graphic motifs, words, strokes, responds to the intention of the artist to reflect on language. It occupies a very particular place in the history of his life: unable to read or write because of his early dyslexia, he decided to leave the school until he could work in the field of art after learning to read and write in his own way. The elements he uses to hint alienation and solitude, references Court’s experience of living in rural Lapland, unable to speak, read or write in the native language. In this way, John Court’s set of artistic practices works as a personal testimony to a complex life in which the relationship with language, the basic code for communication, among other issues, has been intricate and punishing.

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