Jos de Gruyter

  • Die Schmutzigen Puppen von Pommern

    Die Schmutzigen Puppen von Pommern

    Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys

    Part document, part photographic album, this book by artist duo Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys captures the sculptural revisionings of the descendants of an executioner family from Greifswald in Pomerania, a historical region on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea. The “dirty puppets” are weary, the clothing worn in by history, their story line deadpan and fable-like. In the twelfth century, the family amassed a fortune through the management and maintenance of the gallow fields; their influence also extended to the judiciary and its decision making. After three generations in power, the empire suddenly and inexplicably collapsed. It was said that the frenzy of executions was the reason for the downfall. The family descendents left to roam Pomerania, relegated to a fate of taunt and mockery.

    Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys's images form an allegory for human behavior under social and psychological pressure, and expose, not without humor, the bankruptcy of humanity.

    Copublished with The Power Station, Dallas, on occasion of the eponymous exhibition, April 8−June 12, 2015.

    • Paperback $26.00
  • Fine Arts

    Fine Arts

    Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys

    Fine Arts continues Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys's playful and dystopic approach to depicting the human condition. The artist duo became watercolorists for the project, harping back to an early amateur pictorial tradition while basing their picture making on a range of quotidian and historical images culled from the Internet. Deadpan images of the banal and the fanciful accompany the grievous and the tragic, without comment. Nostalgia and innocence are dimly stirred and questioned. Although the genre of the watercolorist, and its association with pastoral and colonialist scenes, may be considered outdated, the contemporary mode of sourcing the images implies that these pictures might not be matters of the past. This book brings together the collection of over ninety watercolors in a glossy format reminiscent of a picture book or auction house catalogue.

    Copublished with CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; MoMA PS1, New York; and Raven Row, London, on the occasion of the eponymous traveling exhibition in 2015.

    • Paperback $36.00
  • Optimundus

    Optimundus

    M HKA 08 02 13 - 19 05 13

    Jos de Gruyter, Harald Thys, and Nav Haq

    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

    • Paperback $26.00
  • Das Wunder des Lebens

    Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys

    Like a pictorial encyclopedia, Das Wunder des Lebens contains over four hundred drawings that show all that the modern world has to offer, from maps and city views to cars and airplanes. However, unlike conventional pictorial dictionaries, there is no symbolic system. We see laundry bags and paint buckets as well as a nun and a man with a hat in front of a double window, a shy animal with a thick fur, and breakfast on a Victorian table. Juxtapositions are normalized, and normality becomes a farce. Everything is exposed to everyone; everything becomes equal.

    Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys have been working together as an artist duo since the end of the 1980s. Their photographs, drawings, objects, and videos—steeped in black humor, critical (self)-reflection and overlapping reality, fiction and suppressed history—play with notions of the superficial and banal.

    Copublished with Kunsthalle Wien and Kunsthalle Basel on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at the former, February 7–May 4, 2014, and “Projekt 13” at the latter, January 16–March 14, 2010

    • Hardcover $57.00