“Rabbit”, one of Jeff Koons’ most emblematic piece, has been brilliantly reinterpreted by the British artist Jonathan Monk, at the Kasey Kaplan Gallery, from May 7th to June 20th.
Coming from the artistic movement of the Glasgow Artistic School, Monk’s specialty is to bring back to life icons and other significant works from modern and conceptual art. He interrogated and appropriated him works as the one of Lawrence Weiner, Sol LeWitt, Chris Burden or Ed Ruscha through his one method in re-contextualizing the pieces to his own present world. Indeed, for him, ideas are for everyone, and in doing this path he also contribute to art :
“Appropriation is something I have used or worked with in my art since starting art school in 1987. At this time (and still now) I realised that being original was almost impossible, so I tried using what was already available as source material for my own work. By doing this I think I also created something original and certainly something very different to what I was re- presenting. I always think that art is about ideas, and surely the idea of an original and a copy of an original are two very different things.” (Jonathan Monk)
For this exhibition, which is the sixth at the Kasey Kaplan Gallery, he chose as a starting point this icon of contemporary art, the Rabbit of Jeff Koons. But the stainless steel sculptures he proposes are variations around the singular subject of deflation. Thus, we are in presence of a representation of a declining rabbit, which is – as the Jeff Koons’ work – reflecting as a mirror our own image... Let’s leave free the interpretation of this symbol, considering the crisis context of the actual world…
Around the five sculptures are also showcased five photorealist painting, of a great skillfulness, describing the different fabrication step of the sculpture, from the clay moulds to welding of steel. By rising to an artwork the proper realization of the sculpture, Monk demystifies his own creation process, which is totally in accordance to his principle of democratization of art.
A last room is linked to his passion for conceptual art : it is a group of four light bulbs, taking the basic from of a square, a circle, a rectangle and a triangle that gradually burn out and go dark. Beside the reference to conceptual art, the light bulbs remind us the Hollywood-style mirrors. The fact that they burn down could again be related to the actual difficulties of the cultural world.
This exhibition could thus be an occasion to laugh at the sad destiny of the Jeff Koons’ rabbit, but also to see an other fresh example of the artistic expression of the actual crisis.
The Inflated Deflated will run in parallel with The Deflated Inflated at the Lisson Gallery in London, May 20 – June 13, 2009. Following his opening with the gallery, Monk will present an exhibition of unique t-shirts and posters at Specific Object, New York, May 8 – June 12, 2009. Opening May 14, Monk will present The Rew-Shay Hood Project Part II, at Artpace, San Antonio, Texas. Monk’s work is also currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in an exhibition curated by Christian Rattemeyer, Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild
[Visuals : Jonathan Monk, Exhibition views, courtesy Kasey Kaplan Gallery]