Johannes Zits


My work uses the expressive capabilities of the human body to investigate the connection between personal and public and the various constructs that shape this connection. My artistic approach involves incorporating improvisation and random elements, both in my process-oriented work and in my longer durational performances. By setting boundaries and constraints for myself, and by working with specific sites and references, I encourage the audience to critically examine their own assumptions and beliefs.I have been collecting second-hand clothing for fifteen years, using this material present work that reflects a conflicted relationship with fashion and grapples with phrases like “socially acceptable” and “age-inappropriate.”  Should I be conscious about what to wear and what is considered to be in vogue? All of my performance-based works with clothing have, in one way or another, dealt with this dilemma, either in metaphorical ways or by directly addressing issues such as the influence of mass media, fashion trends, pride, labour, excess and burden.

Johannes Zits is a Toronto-based performance artist. Since graduating in 1984, Johannes has shown work across Canada and internationally. In 2013, he featured a collection of his videos at FIFA in Montreal and the following year presented the performance, Island, at M:ST Festival, Calgary, as well as venues in Shanghai and Chongqing, China. His photographic and collage work has been featured in Vienna, Berlin, Shanghai, Hamburg, Caen and Mexico City. In 2016, Johannes presented Body Traps, at the 7A*11D Festival, in Toronto, and also performed with the group No Object at the AGO Toronto. In 2019 the Copenhagen Contemporary Museum commissioned him to create a score for their permanent collection and he performed at the International Biennial of Asuncion, Paraguay. In 2020, Johannes was the artist-in-residence at the McIntosh Gallery, Western University, in London, Ontario, presenting the exhibition Listening To Trees. In 2022, he attended a residency at the Joy Kogawa House; performed at Centre A, Vancouver; and presented work for Treewilder, Oundle, U.K., as well as Como un Jagüey, in Havana, Cuba.







Books & Ephemera

Artist Orange

Just as a performance artist uses their body as their medium, this is a fragrance composed entirely of the orange tree: fruit, leaves, bark, roots, and flowers. Artist Orange performs itself.

Top Notes

neroli, blood orange

Middle Notes

fresh orange juice, petit grain

Base Notes

orange twig, orange seed