Switzerland - Kunsthalle Basel - Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys - PROJEKT 1306/01/2010
January 16 -March 14, 2010
Opening: Friday, January 15, 7pm
Kunsthalle Basel presents the first major exhibition of the Belgian artists Jos de Gruyter (°1965, Geel) and Harald Thys (°1966, Wilrijk) in Switzerland. Collaborating since the end of the 1980s, de Gruyter and Thys have developed an intriguing body of work, in which the menacing absurdity of the world we live in is scrutinized and the power that we as human individuals have to do something about it is questioned.
For the exhibition, de Gruyter and Thys came up with a concept that stages a world in its own right. Upon entering the main gallery of the five spaces on the ground floor in which their show takes place, the door will automatically close behind the visitor. One will find oneself imprisoned in a 'World Fair of the year 3000' or a 'Fair to celebrate the life in the parallel world', to quote the artists. Not only the outside world is kept at a safe distance, which is further accentuated by the windows covered up with wooden panels, but also (most of) the other viewers. The display structure made of a large number of wooden partitions in regular arrangements throughout the galleries is conceived as a labyrinth that effectively blocks the visitors' view onto each other while they stroll around.
De Gruyter and Thys will display around 500 new drawings on paper, depicting the banal and horrifying events of our daily life. The origins of these drawings lie in a 'dirty dark mix of found images of everything and nothing', from planes, openings, amateur theatre, animals to buildings, pots and pans, sunglasses and dishes. The artists meticulously and painstakingly traced these images, allowing themselves some interpreting along the way. The whole 'fair' will lead the visitors towards the new film in the last room of the show - a narrated story, that will elevate and bring together the various lines of thought present in the exhibition.
Image: Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, Der Schlamm von Branst, 2008, videostill
Courtesy the artists; Gallery Dépendance Brussels; Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin