Jos de Gruyter

Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys
Objects as Friends


“Objects as Friends” – the collaborative work of Belgian artists Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys – consists of some 300 digital photographs of identical proportions depicting seemingly random, brightly lit assemblies of cheap, battered objects shot against a recurring gray background and standing or lying on a dust-stained floor. A tire, a stool, a rubber boot, a dismembered umbrella; many things appear broken, picked up from the street, or bought in one of those one-euro shops whose garish interior lighting is so successfully duplicated in these bleak, underwhelming stilllives. “Objects as Friends” – the collaborative work of Belgian artists Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys – consists of some 300 digital photographs of identical proportions depicting seemingly random, brightly lit assemblies of cheap, battered objects shot against a recurring gray background and standing or lying on a dust-stained floor. A tire, a stool, a rubber boot, a dismembered umbrella; many things appear broken, picked up from the street, or bought in one of those one-euro shops whose garish interior lighting is so successfully duplicated in these bleak, underwhelming stilllives.

Co-published with Culurgest, Lisabon, kestnergesellschaft, Hanover and Mu.ZEE Ostend

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Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys
Optimundus - M HKA 08 02 13 - 19 05 13


Edited by Nav Haq
With texts by Nav Haq, Jennifer Krasinski, Dieter Roelstraete, Michael Van den Abeele, Peter Wächtler

Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys’s art casts a merciless perspective on reality. Through their numerous artistic approaches—including installations, video, drawing, sculpture, performance, and photographs—the artist duo visualize their imaginings of the parallel world inherent within the modern human psyche, along with how it manifests itself in the everyday aspects of life and civic conformity. Everything from work, leisure, and family, to social class, masculinity, and marginalization are envisaged through convening an unlikely cast of nonprofessional actors, family members, friends, beards, objects, and mannequins alike, often in banal, homespun settings rife with awkward power dynamics.

This book accompanies their major exhibition at M HKA of the same title—the term they use for their particular conception of the parallel world. Narratives and criticism by Michael Van den Abeele, Nav Haq, Jennifer Krasinksi, Dieter Roelstraete, and artist Peter Wächtler are presented along with photos, drawings, and text illustrating the unsteady barriers and tense contact between “Optimundus” and the real world.

Copublished with M HKA and Kunsthalle Wien

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