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.

Pi*llOry Part 3 and Part 4

Pi*llOry is an event for Queer, BIPOC and Feminist performers to show case their work, focusing on trauma. Pi*llOrists are examining how we personally and politically dismantle heteronormative hegemony and engage in healing that puts an end to the repetition of communal trauma. Pi*llOry’s performers are liberating queer bodies as a primary agency that can harness the transformative power of presence, space, politics, shame and (dis)/ability while refracting their infinite incarnations. Pi*llOry’s artists renounce the binary and traditional gender roles, they not only create new ones for themselves, but give space for others to create their own as well. Through oral, visual and visceral mediums, Pi*llOry explores the depths of fragmented gender/queer identity, pushing beyond labels and classifications. On the edge of complete uncertainty, with only the already structural, limited and bound ways of description and discrimination of queerness, Pi*llOrists arm themselves with the unknown to disrupt inherited historical trauma invoking a lasting communal cultural healing.

Sadie Berlin
lo bil
Simla Civelek
Nicole Lynn Deschaine
Madeleine Lychek
Tess Martens
Sheri Osden Nault
[ field ] (Coman Poon & Brian Smith)
Randa Reda
Amber Helene Müller St. Thomas
Holly Timpener
Johannes Zits

Pi*llOry would like to thank FADO for their sponsorship and support of Pi*llOry part three and four.

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Performance Yellow

This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer