Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys

The collaborative work of Jos de Gruyter (°1965) Harald Thys (°1966) is rooted in a folksy, tragic/comedic sensibility. For almost twenty years they have been collaborating to produce a highly idiosyncratic body of work, consisting of films, videos, photographs and sculptures. Their exploration of the existential results in films with a sombre undertone, conjuring up dramatic, surreal situations, combining a representation of basic human emotions and paradoxical behavior. Their aesthetic vocabulary draws both on the natural awkwardness of their untrained actors and the glazed expressions of asylum patients. This vocabulary is honed into an experimental drama, into a strange and sometimes macabre theatre of the absurd.

The artists seek ways to confront marginal, incapacitated, lost and alienated subjects without defining these 'others' in sociological terms. In this sense, and especially given their novel use of a ghoulish humour, Thys and de Gruyter broaden the scope of reflection on human social behaviour.