Johannes Gees is a swiss-born artist who works in the digital and physical spaces since 1999 often combining one with the other. In his twenties and thirties, he was active as a musician, graphic designer and, for a brief period, as a painter in the style of the „Jungen Wilden“.
Johannes Gees has always been interested in hybrid, collaborative forms of art. He calls the DADA movement that started at Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich in 1916 and the punk revolution of the seventies as his main inspirations, but has always been influenced by conceptual thinking and a strong interest intechnical innovations (Internet, Laser Technology, LED, Blockchain).
While most artists start their career in little galleries and offspaces, Johannes Gees chose public performances as his „point de départ“. His early interactive laser projections rose questions about who owns the public space, providing individuals powerful tools be seen and heard. For his performances, he often chose political topics such as globalisation, migration, religion and its abuse in politics.
His first work, in collaboration with artist collective c.a.l.c, was communimage.net; a collaborative social sculpture thousands of creators have contributed to over the years. It is still online and the code has hardly changed since 1999.
In 2001, he had a huge success with his interactive installation “hellomrpresident“. It invited people all over the world to send messages that were then projected by a laser on the snow-covered slopes of Davos, during the World Economic Forum. The guerrilla project earned Johanns Gees headlines around the world and an award of distinction at Transmediale 2002, in Berlin.
In 2004 the artist came up with the “Hello World Project“: four laser projectors, placed in iconic places around the world, that allowed people again to send messages and see them projected in such places as the UN HQ in New York, Morro Does Irmaos in Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai Beach and Geneva.
He then moved on to do many more laser projections, from New Zealand to France to Switzerland, on mountains, in forests, on rivers and cities around the world.
Most of his work deal with political and social questions. Being an artist, special attention is always given to meticulous execution and the combination of a powerful message with iconic imagery. In 2007 the artist was summoned to court for “disturbing religious peace“, following his public art installation “Salat“.
In 2012 he cofounded wemakeit.com, a crowdfunding platform for creative projects. Today wemakeit.com is lead by a team of young professionals and has become market leader in Switzerland and Austria. Johannes Gees is president of the board.
Following a residency in Venice, California, the artist developped a new painting („dripping“) style and started to produce large, colorful canvases that were shown in several offspace and gallery exhibitions in Switzerland. He collaborated with fellow artist Cris Faria to develop the technique and started to collaborate with Laleh June Gallerie in Basel.
In 2018 founded oomnium.com a DAO-style incentivized community of creators and investors on the ethereum blockchain.
In 2019 he produced his first NFT, „proof of desttruction“, during an artist residency in Hiriketya, Sri Lanka. In April 2019, he collaborated with artist Kelian Maissen to do kleee02, a collection of 360 NFT’s at the intersection of conceptual and generative art. The smart contract was certified on the ethereum blockchain on April 10, 2019, which makes it one of the earliest NFT’s of its kind. The project was presented to the public, who at that point hardly understood the implications of kleee02. In August 2021, the project was rediscovered by a group of NFT collectors and sold out within 25 hours.