English Letter for Jane

CR 71. Year 1979

English Letter For Jane Jochen Gerz Cr 71 Web
English Letter For Jane Jochen Gerz Cr 71 2 Web

Yes I’ll bring the instruments with me
Don’t stay away you’ll see you’ll like it
This time all the way

Jochen Gerz, the convinced autodidact who was never trained at an academy of art but instead pursued German, English, Sinology, and Early History in a kind of general studies, deploys all artistic means except painting and sculpting, but is always anxious that the tools could be too difficult, too alienating. Criticism and doubts about art constantly also entail criticism and doubts about its instruments.

Doris von Drathen 1990

The vehicle of performance also allows the artist to confuse the boundaries of personal experience and social convention... His performances often involved an enactment of extreme psychological and physical states that leveled public and private identity. For example To Cry until Exhaustion (1972) and To write with the Hand (1972) were socially regressive endurance tests and pathetic attempts at communication that assaulted the maker as much as the witness. Typical of performance art at the time, the body had no character, yet the visceral intimacy of the activity provoked a subjective response.

Helga Pakasaar 1999



Monitor, 2 cassette recorders, 2 cassettes, 8 loudspeakers, video camera, video recorder, typewriter, paper, pedestal, fan, spotlight, slide projector, slide, screen
Duration approx. 30 minutes

Dressed in half a pair of pants, Jochen Gerz stands on a monitor accross from a typewrighter on a pedestal and with an inserted blank sheet of paper. The paper is kept in motion by the airstream of a hidden fan and is shown intermittently on the monitor. Gerz holds a cassette recorder in his hands. The machine plays a recording of typewriter sounds and Gerz reciting a text. A spotlight illuminates both sides in alternation. The Letter for Jane is projected on a screen in the center of the scene.


Venezia 1979. Paris 1980. Valencia 1982


I: Luzern 1979, pp. 98-101. Bielefeld 1981, pp. 16, 58-62, 118-120. Valencia 1982, p. 94. Bielefeld 1985, pp. 122-124, 212. Paris 1994a, pp. 255-259

III: Haase 1981, p. 56

IV: Sprache im Technischen Zeitalter 1989, pp. 32-36

V: Graeve 1999, pp. 210 - 215

Access general bibliography

My name is Jochen Gerz