Jonathan Monk at Meyer Riegger, Berlin
That’s About the Size of It
is Jonathan Monk’s solo show at Meyer Riegger / 15 March – 13 April 2019 / Opening on Friday, March 15, 2019
, from 6 to 9 pm / On the occasion of the opening the works will be actived. For the duration of the exhibition further performances will happen each Saturday, from 2 to 5 pm.
Jonathan Monk’s works often remake other artworks. They are also funny. For his exhibition at Meyer Riegger Gallery, the artist presents two new, small sculptures, which restage Tom Wesselmann’s (1931-2004) assemblage, ‘Bedroom Tit Box’ (1968-1970). A miniature, room-like tableau stuffed with out-of-scale models of domestic objects (including an ashtray holding a cigarette, an orange and a vase with vulva-like rose petals protruding from its rim), Wesselmann’s disturbing assemblage is activated by the insertion of a live female breast through a circular hole cut into its ceiling. In Monk’s humorous recasts, which also play on scale, Wesselmann’s tit-box remains intact save that a live penis is now inserted through each assemblage-roof instead (and when the penises are unavailable, then phallic-looking fruit). By substituting the female breast with the penis, Monk parodies Wesselmann’s fetishistic assemblage in which the female body is objectified, aligned with objects of female ‘domesticity’ and with the form of the artwork itself – a frequent trope in Wesselmann’s work. The exposed male appendage makes Monk’s works awkward; undermining rather than affirming masculinity. As reflected in the exhibition title – ‘that’s about the size of it’ – male size really does matter if you are a man though for different reasons than if you are a woman. Since the late 1990s Jonathan Monk has created artworks based on other artworks, referencing, in particular, the languages of conceptual and pop art.