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
Design by Boy Vereecken with Antoine Begon
November 2014, English/German
30 x 29 cm, 492 pages, 477 color ill., hardcover