John von Bergen

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John von Bergen is an American visual artist. His work has been presented in international exhibitions throughout the US, South America and Europe.

Personal background[edit]

While he was raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, von Bergen moved to New York City at the age of 19. He attended the School of Visual Arts, earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Honors in 1996.[1] In 2003, von Bergen settled in Berlin, Germany with an invitation arranged by the Berlin Senate for Culture, Science, and Research.

Fine art background[edit]

John von Bergen primarily works in sculpture, wall installation, and pencil drawing. His sculptural and installation projects involve a wide range of materials (including polymer-gypsum, polyurethane, steel, rubber, found objects, architectural elements) and three-dimensional techniques (mold-making, foam-coating, carving, construction). His work also involves an extensive range of scale; projects may be as small as 25 cm or as large as 14 meters in length (such as his 2010 installation "Whip Lash").

Von Bergen's work explores the difficulties associated with defining phenomenal experience. His drawings, objects, and site-specific installations are vehicles for developing absurd relationships between things and their environments, which inevitably invite uncanny, perturbed reactions. Von Bergen's sculptural language may be more akin to the props used for science-fiction film opposed to conventional sculpture, as familiar forms from the world are hidden inside the skin of a wall, torn apart, morphed into other forms, or re-fabricated through inorganic, foreign materials. All of his projects question the impossibility of an objective perception in this current world, and consider the "found object" as a playground for traumatic re-invention.[2] In both John von Bergen's drawings and sculptural work is a recognizable interest in exploring, where the utilization of unusual materials blend in flowing transition from the apparent towards the invention of idiosyncratic worlds.[3]

As von Bergen summarizes, "A range of different materials may be incorporated into representing a violent simulation, conceived out of imagining an altercation between a physical object and the imitation of a physical object. Projects are not necessarily dependent on any particular reference or theme, as there are many different things interesting me at different times. But I usually try to find a balance between layering cerebral and emotional triggers, and in the process try to witness something I don't quite understand myself."[4]

Exhibitions, Awards and Activities[edit]

Von Bergen's work has been exhibited widely in international galleries, museums, and project spaces such as the Pera Museum in Istanbul, Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, New York, Kjubh Kunstverein in Cologne, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum in Ludwigshafen, Halle 14 in Leipzig, Autocenter in Berlin, and the former Galerie Schmela in Düsseldorf.[1]

In 2009, von Bergen was awarded the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant set up by the artist estates of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner.[1]

In January 2014, von Bergen presented the exhibition "Prey Voidant" at the gallery alexander levy in Berlin. The exhibition coincided with the release of his first monograph titled "CORE", published by Kerber Verlag and distributed by d.a.p.[5]

Since the beginning of 2015 von Bergen has been Guest Professor of Sculpture at Bard College Berlin.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "John von Bergen". 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  2. ^ "John von Bergen". Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  3. ^ Seyfarth, Ludwig. "Pathetischer Betrug". Artbookhouse. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  4. ^ "BOMBLOG: John von Bergen by Samuel Jablon". 2011-04-11. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  5. ^ "John von Bergen". Kerber Verlag. 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  6. ^