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