Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys's major exhibition at M HKA of the same title—the term they
use for their particular conception of the parallel world. Narratives
and criticism by Michael Van den Abeele, Nav Haq, Jennifer Krasinksi,
Dieter Roelstraete, and artist Peter Wächtler
are presented along with photos,
drawings, and text illustrating the unsteady barriers and tense contact
between “Optimundus” and the real world.
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.
Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys's art casts a merciless perspective on reality. Through their numerous artistic approaches, the artist duo visualize their imaginings of the parallel world inherent within the modern human psyche, along with how it manifests itself in the everyday aspects of life and civic conformity. Everything from work, leisure, and family, to social class, masculinity, and marginalization are envisaged through convening an unlikely cast of nonprofessional actors, family members, friends, beards, objects, and mannequins alike, often in banal, homespun settings rife with awkward power dynamics.