Date : 2011
Medium : Photography
Size : 75x60 cm, 150x120 cm
Monochrome gris: acrylic on canvas
Although art should be taken seriously, the role of the artist is to sometimes bend its codes or even mock them.
A provocateur, Jonathan Monk stayed true to his reputation when he asked two floor acrobats, an aerial acrobat, four jugglers and two mimes to hang a series of 23 paintings in an art gallery—23 monochromatic paintings whose grey canvas we can now view.
The British artist focuses here not on the process of creating art but on the process through which the works are hung and revealed to the viewer.
To this end, he called upon a circus troop whose performance served to frame his canvasses. This lively dance, performed behind closed doors, was then immortalised by a photographer. The photograph shows the installation of the canvas. The final work is made up of two inseparable components: a monochrome painting and a photograph of its hanging— an artwork within an artwork!
Monk proposes a very conceptual reflection on the creation and staging of art, but thanks to the circus imagery, the result suggests the innocent and magical world of childhood.
More than a creator, Monk is a facilitator of meetings: that of two worlds, the fairground arts and the visual arts, photography and painting displayed side-by-side, the rigidity of monochrome and the fervour of life.
Finally and most importantly, the artist, lucid and critical, allows himself to parody the world of contemporary art.