Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys
After 30 years of collaboration, de Gruyter & Thys continue to spawn a legion of videos, drawings, sculptures, installations, performances, and photographs. These materials offer the artists vehicles, which they populate with humans and their stand-ins – stupefied family members, hysterical puppets, anthropomorphized objects. Some of these characters are friends, or intermediaries that serve in their place. Others are the derelict occupants of a ‘parallel world’ that goes unrecognized by most, despite its being inexorably entangled with the world most of us identify.
Sometimes their work is perplexing, but the hushed laughter it elicits is tuned to a rather dark station. After all, or overall, the artists wallow in the most depressing of cultural trenches, in the most vile historical quagmires and, when they emerge – indelibly soiled in the moribund and strange aspects of humanity, its absurd technological prosthetics, its endless neuroses and traumas – they wring it out and give it a frozen form, a more appropriately awkward posture.