Bruce LaBruce & Jonathan Johnson
August 10 - September 16, 2022
CASSTL is proud to present FIXATIONS, an exhibition by Bruce LaBruce with works by Jonathan Johnson and all the collaborations between both artists.
For the occasion of the opening of FIXATIONS, C A S S T L joins forces with DE CINEMA and DE NOR.
De Cinema will present a double bill showing No Skin Off My Ass (1991) and Saint-Narcisse (2020), Bruce LaBruce will join and talk with Guido Totté.
The party ALLE QUEERS IN DE NOR at De Nor (with concerts and DJ’s Bruce LaBruce, Jonathan Johnson & Stéphane Schraenen, and Daniël de Botanicus) will be the apotheosis of a week of Bruce LaBruce in Antwerp.
“When mounting a retrospective photography exhibit of my work, as I have done with FIXATIONS, certain motifs, patterns, and obsessions emerge. The body, or post-body, often naked and sexualized, worshipped and desecrated, comes to the fore. It's an obscure object of desire to be simultaneously adored and debased, blessed and blasphemed. The (post)body is often offered up in parts, a synecdochic tendency in the work that presents the limbs and appendages of subjects that have already been altered in real life - amputated, removed, or altered - or cut off from the ancien regime body by the framing of the subject. An erect cock gloriously protruding from a glory hole is seemingly separated from the body behind the wall in order for it to be worshipped or, in a more violent imagination, severed. A close-up of a man's bare chest has been spunked upon by the artist, leaving only a trace of the artist's body and the sexual act he has performed for the viewer to contemplate. Similarly, a priest's face in close-up has been spunked upon, presumably by God, as he looks heavenward, the cock of the prime mover leaving only a remnant of its sexual manifestation. A subject whose arm has been amputated is photographed so that the top frame also cuts off his head, leaving only the transfigured body as love object. The transbody is ascendant, appearing frequently as a reminder of the mutability and malleability of the biological body. Blind subjects-a holy man with holy wafers covering his eyes, or a punk on a leash held by a nun¾are offered as symbols of either blind faith or castration, or as blind prophets, or as avatars of censorship. In every case, the intersection and interchangeability of religious and sexual ecstasy is made manifest (or womanifest). Fetish, which is the starting point for so many of my photographs and films (think the amputee fetishist in Hustler White, the gerontophile in Gerontophilia, or the twincest of Saint-Narcisse) is an act of both divine reverence and devilish profanity.
The exhibition is presented in both microcosm and macrocosm. Two blown up photographs cover two of the walls of the gallery - the glory hole cock, and the photograph of artist Slava Mogutin, shot from below, making him appear as if a giant, the photographer obviously genuflecting before the objectified subject. Both images offer only parts of the whole, but in their epic proportion they expand the body in a gesture of macrophilia, a new genre of pornography, the fetish for the gigantic. The remaining space in the gallery is covered by wallpaper composed of small reproductions of my photographs taken over the last three decades or so, the images repeated over and over again as they might be consumed on social media, reconfigured as a disposable medium of home decor. A selection of seven photographs have been framed and mounted on top of the wallpaper as they might be in a living room or more traditional gallery, merging the contemporary maximalization of imagery evinced by the wallpaper with the more traditional presentation of art as object to be bought and sold.
The rest of the show belongs to my longtime collaborator, the Hamburg-based jeweler and artist Jonathan Johnson, with whom I produce a collaborative line of jewelry, his work riffing on themes and motifs present in my work in his own inimitable style.” (Bruce LaBruce)
Bruce LaBruce is a filmmaker, photographer, writer, and artist based in Toronto but working internationally. Along with numerous short films and music videos, he has written and directed fourteen feature films, including Gerontophilia, which won the Grand Prix at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal in 2012, and Pierrot Lunaire, which one a Teddy Special Jury Prize at the Berlinale in 2014. His feature film L.A. Zombie (2010) was notably banned in Australia. His latest movie, Saint-Narcisse, was named one of the top ten films of 2021 by John Waters in Artforum. His new porn feature, The Affairs of Lidia, from Erika Lust Films, was released in 2022.LaBruce has directed a number of music videos, two of which won him MuchMusic Video Awards in Canada, and recently won Best Gay Director and Best Gay Film at the internationally recognized XBIZ porn awards for his film Fleapit.
He has had film retrospectives at the Toronto International Film Festival TIFF/Bell Lightbox in 2014 and at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 2015. He will have a film retrospective at the Quebec Cinematheque in Montreal in September 2022. As a visual artist he has had numerous gallery shows around the world, including an infamous one called Obscenity at La Fresh Gallery in Madrid, a photography exhibit which caused a national ruckus in Spain in 2012.
LaBruce has written a premature memoir called The Reluctant Pornographer, and another called Porn Diaries. He has had two books published about his work: Ride, Queer, Ride, from Plug-In Gallery in Winnipeg, and Bruce(x)ploitation, a monograph from the Italian distributor, Atlantide Entertainment. His photo book Death Book was published by Baron Books in 2020. In 2015 Jonathan Johnson published the collection catalogue Concrete, a publication about LaBruce’s and Jonathan Johnson’s ongoing jewelery collaborations. LaBruce has contributed to a variety of international magazines, newspapers and websites as both a writer and photographer, including index magazine, for which he also acted as a contributing editor.
A display case will show all the pieces of jewelry made since 2009 by Bruce Labruce in collaboration with Jonathan Johnson.
With the scuplture Hard Core, Jonathan Johnson not only exceeds the limits of good taste, no, he also expands his own world of jewelry making for the exhibition FIXATIONS into a walk-in world of objects that do not always seem to promise what the viewer expects hoping for the first look. A display case also serves as a prayer stool, which inevitably turns the viewer into a voyeur. More than 750 ct citrines, hand-cut in Germany in the 1950s, adorn the stage for three cast silver figures, all three of which portray the artist himself during sexual acts, in order to open the way for the viewer to dare to take a look inside the showcase.
The Burning Hindenburg belt buckle-crafted from 18kt gold and decorated using an old Russian goldsmith's technique, is attached to a belt made from Russian Juchten leather dating back to 1786 and originally used to make Cossack boots off the coast of Plymouth sank in a storm and could only be salvaged again in the 1970s.
A pink gumball machine will be filled with the new C A S S T L edition. Anal, Cunt, Saint, Satan, Bitch, Butch, Hunk, Pig, Fucker, Death and Daddy an edition of 11 rings, each in 10 copies, is the latest collaboration between Bruce LaBruce and Jonathan Johnson.
Jonathan Johnson was born in southern Germany, he began training as a goldsmith in the jewelry industry at the age of 20. He worked for Otto Jakob for 4 years then got his master's degree and went into business for himself.
With his goldsmithing Jonathan Johnson interprets influences of high and pop-culture, philosophy and politics, punk and luxury, fine-art and activism. By merging contradicting elements and subjects, Jonathan Johnson raises his brilliant craftsmanship and the appropriate obsession for detail to a contemporary state-of-the-art level. With much pleasure for tongue-in-cheek provocation Jonathan creates unique works of art, fuled by a concept-driven alloy that is not defined by color or surface but by interdisciplinary content. Jonathans attitude and method transform each piece of work into a personal, political and artistic statement. Since 2006, Jonathan Johnson exclusively uses recycable material (sterling silver and gold) from german refining establishment. He relies completely on green electricity and designs and produces all his works in his studio in Hamburg, Germany.
Johathan Johnson has been collaborating with artists such as Bruce LaBruce, Asia Argento, Rocko Schamoni, Heinz Strunk, Angie Reed, Moonbootica, Tom of Finland and Arocha-Schraenen for many years.
Bruce LaBruce & Jonathan Johnson: FIXATIONS
Opening: August 10, 19:00-22:00u
Show dates: August 11 - September 16, 2022
Braziliëstraat 27, 2000 Antwerp
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 14:00-18:00u