9.21.18 Artist Talk: Johannes Zits


Join Third Space and Johannes Zits for a talk about the artists’ 10-day Residency with the Trees. Free and all are welcome. Refreshments will be provided.

During his residency, the artist will spend 6 hours a day, rain or shine with the trees located Saint John’s historic Loyalist Burial Ground and Rockwood Park’s newly created Arboretum. Through being with the trees, actions and processes will unfold.

Zit’s residency will conclude with an action for a public audience that will summarize what has transpired over the previous days.

The final performance will be the following Saturday, Sept. 29th. Time and location TBA

Artist Statement & Bio

Johannes Zits’ is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist whose practice focuses on the many meanings engendered by the body. He draws attention to conventional image-making and how mass media images are disseminated and consumed. In working with the natural environment, Zits extends the notion of the performer to include nature itself. Considering nature as an equal ensures that it can be neither construed as a passive prop nor adored and fixed in the realm of the sublime.

Since graduating with a BFA from York University in 1984, Johannes Zits has presented work across Canada as well as internationally. In 2013, Zits performed at the 8th Encuentro, Sao Paulo, Brazil and presented a collection of his videos at Le festival international du film sur l’art, Montreal. In 2014, he presented variations on the performance “Island” at M:ST Festival, Calgary, Yuz Museum,Shanghai and at Meta 2014, Chongqing, China.

Residency Description:

Johannes Zits is creating a process-based performance artwork that explores both the human body and the body of trees as active participants, and the interdependent connection between the two. This performance will take into account – but is not limited to – three areas of interest including:

1. The tree’s own physical history, manifested via scars, wind storms, growth patterns, and injuries inflicted upon.

2. The consideration of the tree as a symbol of time, resilience, and fortitude; and the factors that contributed to its symbolic presence.

3. The interdependence between human and tree, keeping in mind the destructive influence of human consumption, and the consequences of an imbalanced relationship between human and tree.

For this performative study, Zits will split his time between the mature trees in the Loyalist Burial Ground and the recently planted ones in Rockwood Park’s Arboretum. The Loyalist Burial Ground is Saint John’s original burial ground established shortly after the landing of the United Empire Loyalists in 1783. After its closure as a cemetery in 1848 the site became a memorial garden with tree lined walkways and flower beds.

Rockwood Park is located in Saint John’s North End and is one of Canada’s largest urban parks. The park was designed by Calvert Vaux, one of the designers of New York City’s Central Park, in the mid-19th century. In combination with the New Brunswick Museum’s rich database of local natural history and archival material, Johannes Zits’ Residency with the Trees will engage a broad audience, sharing his experience of performance art as a viable mode of research and dissemination. Zit’s residency and accompanying workshop will broaden the general public’s understanding of the communicative capacity and value of non-commercial contemporary art practices.