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Indepth Arts News:

"Living With Art: JOHANNES ZITS"
2000-05-27 until 2000-06-23
Forest City Gallery
London, ON, CA Canada

For a number of years Johannes Zits has been working on themes of love and intimacy. As a gay man, he is always aware of how the codes of behavior change depending on the situation in which he finds himself. This body of paintings examines the nature of public and private domains by addressing issues of intimacy, desire and companionship. It questions conventional reading of painting, photography, and the way images from mass media are consumed by blurring the lines that divide them.

Johannes's work has evolved out of an attempt to understand the notion of taste, good, bad and acceptable. These paintings implicates taste on many levels and it is the play among these different layers that he is drawing on. For example, the links between the freedom of a splatter of paint and the messiness of day-to-day living are never taken into account in the pristine and beautifully designed interiors of magazines like Martha Stewart Living. What is the line dividing sloppiness from a well-intended brush stroke? Expressiveness of paint strokes or ideas, have their boundaries in a world that is being presented to the general public.

Johannes is interested in the way Living and other lifestyle publications expose private living spaces. These magazines tastefully depict domestic scenes that instantly become part of the public domain. Their interiors tease us with visions of success, comfort and pleasure. They tempt us with ideal sanctuaries where private fantasies might be explored and fulfilled. Correspondingly, the figures in his work make a direct link to the way the public perceives the nude (male) body, representations of sex and how these homes are exposed for general consumption. The nude males that he inserts into these idealized homes are intentionally appropriated from gay porn. These magazines are also made to tease. Like the transition from private space into public spectacle, sex acts become pornography when made public. The inclusion of these figures also raises the specter of fantasy and illusion, putting a further twist on these domestic scenes by furnishing them with a gay male perspective.

Through his redesigning of domestic interiors, Johannes is directing attention to and broadening the relationship between voyeurism and consumption. He is painting figures into these empty domestic scenes thus inviting viewers into the public rendering of private fantasies and taking them beyond the pristine pages of the magazine.


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