Matthew Higgs, Jens Hoffman, Hans Ulrich-Obrist, London, 2003.
Softcover, 161 pp., Chiefly illus. in color.
This book is the exhibition catalogue for Jonathan Monk: Projected Works from Lisson Gallery and Galerie Yvon Lambert from 2003. Part conceptual part narrative and part auto biographical art.
Born in Leicester, England in 1969, but now based in Berlin, Jonathan Monk’s work includes a wide range of media including installations, photography, film, sculpture and performance. His tongue-in-cheek methods often recall procedural approaches typical of 1960’s Conceptualism, but without sharing their utopian ideals and notions of artistic genius. Instead, Monk grounds his conceptual approach in more commonplace concerns, that of personal history, his family, even pets, whilst still alluding to the types of systems and processes that artists such as Sol LeWitt employed so rigorously. While much of his work is gently playful and tinged with nostalgia for the late 1960’s, it also challenges the idea of purity in modern art, demystifying the creative process and suggesting alternative models for how art and the role of the artist can be interpreted.
The exhibitions will be made up of several projections, either using slides or video, many of which deal with time. In Big Ben Piece, slides of postcards of the famous monument will be shown in the gallery at the time displayed on the postcard. Today is just a copy of yesterday, a slide projection, shows an image of an exhibition of work by Sol LeWitt, which took place at Lisson Gallery in 1972. The carousel moves round only once a day but should you see all the slides, you would notice the deterioration of the image, an effect caused by making slide duplicates from duplicates. Finally the image of the gallery becomes bathed in a kind of sentimental haze and it is virtually unrecognisable. Lisson Gallery was one of the first places in Europe to show the work of Monk’s mainly American artistic heroes, and it is therefore entirely appropriate that he should not only use the gallery in his work, but also exhibit his work in the gallery.