Iwalewa Haus (The Africa Center of the University of Bayreuth)

'becoming, binding & disappearing'

Johan Thom
'becoming, binding & disappearing', Press Image for exhibition ,


M├╝nzgasse 9 95444 Bayreuth, Germany

Hours: Tues-Sun 2-6pm


Johan Thom at Iwalewa Haus (The Africa Center of the University of Bayreuth)

For the first time Johan Thom will exhibit a comprehensive selection of his video works and video installations in one showing at Iwalewa Haus (The Africa Center of the University of Bayreuth).

Well known for his performances, videos and video installations Thom often subjects the body to extremes in a quest to map its ongoing transformation. His works are both enigmatic and playful, subverting preconceived notions about identity, the body, politics and knowledge.

The exhibition includes a number of large-scale video projections and installations such as Challenging mud - after Kazuo Shiraga (2008), a video projection displayed on a thin layer of flour placed on the floor and showing the artist being buried alive with his body covered in gold leaf; Theory of displacement (2007/8), a massive immersive environment consisting of three video projections in which the artist lies tarred and feathered in a natural spring situated in the area known as the ‘Cradle of Humankind’, South Africa; Terms of endearment (2007) in which the artist made up in ‘skullface’ happily gargles on ordinary washing detergent and champagne. Also included on the exhibition is a new large-scale installation titled Blood Rites (2010) showing the extreme close-up movement of the artist’s face covered in gold leaf as he ritually places 50 individually engraved razor blades in his mouth, chewing and spitting them out - all projected onto a number of thick rope lengths hanging from the ceiling. 

This solo exhibition is supplemented by the screening of Terrorizing the concept of meaning - Conversations with Johan Thom, a 43-minute documentary film produced by Iwalewa Haus & the Federal German Research Council and made by Thorolf Lipp and Tobias Wendl following extensive interaction with the artist over the course of the past two years.

22 April 2010 - 05 September 2010