Mitsy Groenendijk - Monkey-People
Opening on Wendsday April 22th at 18 hrs
Ausstellungsdauer: 23.04. bis 12.06.2009
Part of the human self-conception is both, to actually define ourselves as a species as well as our behavior towards what we perceive as "different" species. In fine arts, man has repeatedly made his relation towards the animal as subject. Throughout this process he has occasionally given both, his idea of god and the gods as well as the representation of himself, an animal form. In the course of history this artistic humanization of the animal has remained significant and still the animal turns out to be a perfect projection surface for the human need of self-awareness. The fact that now the anthropomorphic animal figure seems to come off in the children's departments of the cultural industry and frequently faces us as colorful marketing item, occasionally makes us forget the illuminative power of the animal allegory. This makes it even more pleasant to encounter Mitsy Groenendijk's works, which – quite independent of Darwin and Disney - exclusively deal with the image of man as a monkey.
Her colorfully set sculptures, modeled from ceramics and plaster appear in remarkably realistic, human-everyday scenes, either individually or in groups and are equipped with only few requisites such as furniture, toys or clothing. It is not only the requisites which constitute this realism but also the simplicity and naturalism of the situations which Mitsy Groenendijk places her protagonists into. Mostly one catches them back-pedaling during their activities or being placed in other rigid states of being such as waiting or sleeping; (which only emphasizes their vivid appearance); some of them also perform a particularly human activity, namely the writing and understanding of abstract terms such as "god", "illusion" or "now".
Looking at it from a scenic point of view, we consistently deal with snapshots here; frozen moments which join into an artistic fiction, as specific stories seem to belong to the figures. These are not told in detail; however they do consolidate in the pictured moment and remain imaginable. It is conspicuous, that actually humorous episodes are absent. The figures' childish humor is always accompanied by ethical seriousness and thus not seldomly a certain melancholy emanates from them.
There is one thing all those scenes share: the moment of reflecting. These monkey-people demonstrate rationality by either communicating a plausible emotion by mimic means or even wanting to contact our mind by means of the word. At the latest at this point we identify ourselves with them and want to reciprocate feelings and thoughts beyond the limitations of evolution. This moment exceeds the satirical punch lines we happen to know from monkey caricatures for instance. It's not necessarily the accuracy with which the monkey figure is supposed to spoof the human nature that makes the charm of this work, but far more the level of participation in her figures inner lives that Mitsy Groenendijk knows how to awake inside us.