John Court – a short biography


John Court was born in 1969 in Bromley, Kent, England. He graduated from Camberwell School of Art and Design in 1993, and Norwich School of Art Design in 1994.


As a sufferer of dyslexia, John Court's early life produced a struggle to rectify the damage and negative learning experiences of school life. John left school in 1986 but instead of being confident with the skills he had learned “it was just like being in a big black hole - and I just sat doodling most of the time. It took me many years to get the shock, frustration and threat of school out of my being."


John Court started drawing at the age of 19; “Drawing helped me to build up my confidence, and it gave me the impetus to learn to read and write – which I did – on my own”.


Agency work on some of London's most prominent building projects instilled the work ethic in John because "if you did not meet the work requirement for that day you simply didn't get paid." It should come as no surprise that the work ethic of the 8 hrs working day should play such a prominent role in the performance work, drawings, and video installations of John Court.


After working as a building labourer in the daytime, and studying at night, John Court was finally admitted to art school at the age of 23 years in 1993.


"To build you have to be able to visualise structures and in many ways it was natural for me to go into sculpture, performance and drawing where I could picture the elements of a fixed or moving body operating in a given space."


The concept and the visualisation of that particular idea are equally important. The idea has to come first, and then I can visualise how to represent it; for example the recent video installation ‘8 hrs into 8 minutes’ has that fixed idea of time, and it determines what happens and how it is represented; and it's the same with Moving Space; to underline the everyday experience of confronting familiar and mundane objects in space.

"What I do is real"- real time within the format and systems of every day life. 8 hrs is a unit of time, it gives a sense of purpose with its rules, regulations, priorities and values - everyone can relate to the possibility of a working day, and the familiarity with the objects that commitment brings. Consequently, the work ethic allows me to be ‘at work’ whilst occupying the physical space of my art. The space, whether it is the museum or the high street, it hardly matters; it is the experience of that space connected to the work ethic, which makes my work possible.”


John Court moved to Finland in 1996. He lives and works in northern Finland.

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