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Jos DE GRUYTER & Harald THYS

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관리자 2020-09-05 12:20

Jos DE GRUYTER Born 1965 in Geel, Belgium

Harald THYS Born 1966 in Wilrijk, Belgium

Live in Brussel

Jos de GRUYTER & Herald THYS, Mondo Cane, 2019, Animatronic sculpture (12)

Mondo Cane was first presented at the Belgian Pavilion of the 58th Venice Biennale (2019). In 2020 the exhibition was on view at the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels (BOZAR). Commissioned by the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.

For the past three decades, the Belgian artists Jos DE GRUYTER & Harald THYS, has perfected the construction of fairytale-like emblems of societal nightmares. Through videos, photographs, drawings, paintings, and sculptural installations, the duo forms a world that emanates dazed and dark folklore, where the Golem, voodoo dolls, and Frankenstein-like figures are often summed. The artists’ work is populated with nameless, grotesque dummies and archetypal figures: the village drunks, the madmen, the hooligans, the prostitutes, the widows, and the unnamed “others.” Often set within depleted domesticity or against suburban backdrops, DE GRUYTER and THYS’ figures are entangled in painfully absurd conducts. It is a world that resides in a total collapse of communication, where violence is executed slowly, through intervals that stutter instead of flow; reactions are delayed. Expressionless, catatonic, or caught in neurotic twitches, the dummies are often played by the artists or amateur actors. Other times, they are still, fashioned of clay, or straw-stuffed jute — wooden scarecrow type constructions, that are then adorned with cheap, off-brand clothing. Often partially decapitated, they are vaguely familiar, and thus, their presence brings to surface the repressed, horrific object of a Freudian Uncanny; the familiar that becomes estranged. Not surprisingly, humor appears across DE GRUYTER and THYS’ work with a shade of horror, in auniquely Belgian flair that can be traced back to the medieval Flemish Theater of Farce, called “Klucht.” At times, the artists’ figures are presented in settings that resemble a freak show or a human zoo, both popular genres of entertainment that fin de siècle Europe was embellished with. As in their presentation for the Belgian Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, the dummies appear as life-size automated mechanic dolls.
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