Belgian Pavilion of the 58 the Venice Biennale. 8 May-24 November 2019 / Exhibition in spring 2020 at Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels
The publication MONDO CANE is being released to coincide with Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys eponymous exhibition for the Belgian Pavilion of the 58th Venice Biennale. MONDO CANE works as a compilation of articles reporting various facts and events about the world that surrounds us. Each article comprises a descriptive text and one or more illustrations. The book is, from the outset, an international publication. The texts appear, at random, in Dutch, English, French, German and Italian. The tone adopted for the articles and drawings is informative, non-spectacular and monotonous. De Gruyter and Thys have a habit of distilling fictions from a reality that can sometimes be too real. They happily claim to be attracted to the state of psychosis in contemporary society, while at the same time dreading it and disseminating it through their creations. Without ever descending into cynicism or morality, the artist duo manages—with skill, and not without humour—in transforming what looks like fear or a state of latency into an uncanny and critical reality that goes beyond the status quo.
The artists Jos de Gruyter (b. 1965) and Harald Thys (b. 1966) live in Brussels and have been working together since the late 1980s. Their collaboration materializes through an extremely singular language that, within the density of our contemporary visual culture, distinguishes itself by a disconcerting tonality, insistence and normality. The artist duo creates films, drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures in which simultaneously hyper-recognizable and non-authoritarian characters, objects and spaces exist. De Gruyter and Thys have had numerous solo exhibitions at institutions including ‘Konkurs Eksperten’ at Kunsthal Aarhus (2018); ‘White Suprematism’ at Portikus Frankfurt and CAC Vilnius (2016); ‘Im Reich der Sonnenfinsternis’ MCA Chicago, ‘Fine Arts’ at MOMA PS1, ‘Die schmutzigne Puppen von Pommern’ The Power Station Dallas and ‘Tram 3’ CCA Wattis’ (2015); ‘Das Wunder des Lebens’ at Kunsthalle Wien (2014) and ‘Optimundus’ at M HKA Antwerp (2013). The artists were included in the Venice Biennale (2013) and the Berlin Biennial (2008).
In 2019 Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys were chosen to represent Belgium on the occasion of the 58th Venice Biennale with a solo exhibition titled ‘Mondo Cane’. The artists are represented by the galleries dépendance, Brussels; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York and Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin.