Jonathan Monk’s investigations into memory, ephemera and artistic process emerge from his practice as an inveterate observer, participant and collector of both popular culture and conceptual art, a constant observer and documentarian whose works explore the wide ranges of history, politics, sociology and memory in a way that brings the viewer with him through a maze of references and touchpoints. In a new series of works on view at Lisson this month, particularly a set of collages entitled Exhibit Model Detail with Additional Information, Monk charts and revisits some of his own exhibition history using photographic evidence of previous solo shows, harking back to the first museum presentation featuring wallpaper of his own past work at Kunsthaus Baselland in 2016.
The artist’s work in the show sees him reflecting on the record of his own production, yet always seen from the perspective of the observer. Copy and pasted onto the backdrop of these grisaille, archival documents are various touchstones or influences that went into the depicted display, drawn from the artist’s own archive of collected objects and memorabilia. Embellishing his works with fragments of his own experience, the pieces here create a sense of Monk reintroducing his own subjectivity into the sheen of a completed show, where so often, the artist’s own personality and presence is abstracted or outright removed from the show.
Each Exhibit Model reflects a mood, a moment in time and a discrete body of work, yet Monk’s actual art objects are not here. It’s a series of memories of shows, and a series of objects as memories. A portrait of Bruce Nauman spits from one bust like a fountain, while an Ettore Sottsass pepper grinder protrudes like a crown from the head of the other figure. This accumulation of images and ephemera creates a feedback loop of creation, appropriation, homage and irreverence.
The show is on view through April 24th.
– J. Shrines
Jonathan Monk: Not Me, Me [Exhibition Site]