Kunsthalle Wien announce Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys Das Wunder des Lebens (The Miracle of Life)

Kunsthalle Wien present Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys Das Wunder des Lebens (The Miracle of Life), the first solo exhibition in Austria by the Belgian artists on view 7 February–4 May 2014.

The two artists have been working together since the 1980s and have developed a highly individual oeuvre which includes videos, sculptures, drawings, photographs and performances. They combine the banality of the everyday with a deep-reaching sense of alienation and express themselves in rigorously reduced scenarios that, through the device of repetition, question the meaningfulness of what they show us.

The exhibition that De Gruyter and Thys have developed for Kunsthalle Wien seems simultaneously hermetic and inviting. Room dividers arranged in a grid pattern present hundreds of drawings; these display a range of motifs that seem encyclopaedic. These drawings contain images of “everything and nothing,” of objects and everyday scenes, buildings and newspaper photos. The weather forecast receives the same status as a pair of sunglasses, people sitting on a park bench are presented next to a factory, furniture next to cityscapes. These drawings are based on found images which, in their mutually levelling juxtaposition, generate the dark undertow of a visual age that is constantly producing images—whereby the selection mechanisms for these images are left to the accompanying technologies. The idiosyncratic lexicon of the world as it is nullifies all differences in the smooth white of the paper and the contour lines of the pencil drawings. White heads, enthroned on white pedestals and seeming to stand guard over the ensemble on the dividing panels, form a contrast to the benches which invite visitors to spend a while by a fountain placed in the middle of the space. Despite this, they amplify the impression of a world reduced to one dimension which has developed in parallel to the real one.

Dominated by the colour white, clearly structured and precisely arranged, the exhibition creates an aesthetic with a similar level of ambiguity as its title: Das Wunder des Lebens (The Miracle of Life).

Jos de Gruyter (b. 1965) and Harald Thys (b. 1966) have been working together as a Brussels-based artist duo since the late 1980s.

Curators: Lucas Gehrmann, Nicolaus Schafhausen
In cooperation with the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst / M HKA, Antwerp

Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier
Museumsplatz 1
1070 Vienna
Hours: Friday–Wednesday 10am–7pm,
Thursday 10am–9pm