Ryts Monet at Akademie Graz

Chain
digital photography printed on paper
10 x 10 cm
2017

 

Ryts Monet’s rediscovery of humanity’s grand narratives in the microcosm of everyday life is usually the starting point of his visual rewriting and recontextualisation. Based on a grinder – a common element of skateparks all over the world – he tells the cosmic history of evolution of gold, including its cultural history symbolising the light from the sky, in his installation.

From February to April 2017 Ryts Monet received the grant St.A.i.R. Styria Artist in Residence, from the Region of Styria, in collaboration with Akademie Graz und Atelier Schillerstraße. Within the framework of Aktuelle Kunst, Graz.

Ryts Monet’s solo exhibition, Grinder, is currently on display at Akademie Graz

 

“Gold entsteht, wenn massereiche Sterne am Ende ihres Lebens als Supernova explodieren.”

Katrin Bucher, curator at Kunsthaus Graz, recently called Ryts Monet an urban alchemist. She exhibited his rescue blanket, which he transformed into a preciously golden but quite fragile praying carpet, referring to actual topics by connecting symbols of being helped with praying for help.

Alchemy was a philosophic and proto-scientific practice to create gold. As we know nowadays, this is only possible if you have a particle accelerator or nuclear reactor at your hand; way too expensive to try it at home. Gold was never the result, but along with this unsuccessful search, those various alchemistic mixtures revealed valuable insights about matter in general. Ryts Monet is working likewise. As “urban alchemist” he creates quite unconventional mixtures of materials, found objects, human encounters, subtle interventions in public space, scientific results, actual debates and the stories underneath. Every piece he connects quite unconventionally with the others. The red line is the maze itself. But as in alchemistic procedures, these surprising combinations open up a network of unseen or unfamiliar links between stories, traditions, practices and facts, in the past as well as in the present. His system of connections is complex and open to new links, so I just list up some of the referring keywords of the exhibition: collision, value, destruction, segmentation, and restoration. Ryts Monet likes to work with evocative objects that are charged with information, are “telling stories”. And by transforming these objects or bring their stories into new contexts, he creates new perspectives, reminding that there are always various layers of meaning and multiple ways to look at something.

His fascination with gold started with the rescue blankets: golden foil and the color of gold. He then found out that there was scientific proof for the historical interpretation of gold as light of the sky, which we know for example from medieval paintings where a golden ground or golden halos represent the sacred. Gold was formed during the collapse of a supernova, which illuminates the surrounding dark universe. In fact, gold derives from the supernovaʼs skylight. Destructive impacts of meteors brought the gold to our planet. Something of (human) value was created in an outsized clash: this is the baseline of the artistʼs stories about collisions, creative destruction and value. The installation on the windows (Riot) about the formation of gold is linked with the image of an asteroid (Sunday), a golden material experiment based on a photo from the Hubble space telescope in the appearance of a medieval representation of the sacred.

As Ryts Monet has a background in street art and skatersʼ philosophy, he provided a “grinder,” a common skate park furniture, with a foundation of gold underneath a layer of white color. As this grinder is an object to be ruined, the gold will appear with the scratches of the skateboards. Gold comes with creative acts or rather collisions.

The “material” of the Battle of Bijlmer (2015) are human encounters. The “battle” was a mulitilingual contest of freestyle-Rappers the artist organized during his residency in Amsterdam. The contest tackled the diversity of heritages in Bijlmer. Based on the unique and common hip hop-culture the Battle of Bijlmer created a bridge between different nations and languages. Globalisation and migration are bringing forth collisions of different nationalities and cultures. This can be a creative as well as a destructive process – but definitely globalization put an end to the idea of homogeneous nations and one-dimensional identities.

One might also think of Schumpeterʼs concept of creative destruction: there is always something that has to be destroyed to develop something new. This concept was often referred to in discussions on the actual financial crisis. This crisis is based on the corruption of the traditional representation of values in stocks and currencies. E.g. since the 1970s the value of national currencies was no longer covered by gold reserves kept in the national banks. Now we need bad banks to store the toxic assets. Riserva aurea is a work with flowers printed on banknotes. The flowers are arranged to a bouquet, but havenʼt been cut out, because the artist likes to keep the material and destroying banknotes is a crime. It is also interesting to think about which countries (and why) chose to print such a peaceful and non-representative element as a flower on their banknotes? And funny also that in German a fake banknote is called a “blossom”.

And last but not least this exhibition has a guest: an artwork that will be sent to Tirana in a few days. It is a 3D print of an ancient Assyrian sculpture from the archeological site of Nimrud near Mosul in Iraq that has been destroyed by the IS. Thanks to an Italian institution this cultural heritage has been digitally preserved. The artist used the file to restore the fragment with a laser cutter: it is the basement of the statue of a Lamassu, a three-meter high protective demon with the head of a man, the wings of an eagle and the body of a bull or a lion. This work also refers to the concept of value. The first target to take over the power is culture often treated a luxurious dispensable matter. But destroying cultural monuments, shutting down cultural institutions, silencing the artists – is destroying the heart of a society.

Astrid Kury, Graz, 25.4.2017

Chain
digital photography printed on paper
10 x 10 cm
2017

 

Grinder (Alchemy after school)
Concrete, acrilic paint and 7 days in a skatepark in Graz
+
Photography printed on paper (10 x 10 cm)
200 x 15 x 14 cm
2017

 

Lamassu (with love and embers)
CNC sculpture and digital print on paper
44 x 68 x 36 cm
2017

 

Lamassu (with love and embers)
CNC sculpture and digital print on paper
44 x 68 x 36 cm
2017

 

Lamassu (with love and embers)
CNC sculpture and digital print on paper
44 x 68 x 36 cm
2017

 

RIOT
vinyl letters applied on windows
130 x 180 cm each
2017

 

Riserva Aurea
Banknotes assembled, paper, glass
29 x 40,5 cm
2017

 

Riserva Aurea
Banknotes assembled, paper, glass
29 x 40,5 cm
2017

 

Sunday
Gold foil and golden lamination on paper
160 x 140 cm (without frame)
2017

 

Sunday
Gold foil and golden lamination on paper
160 x 140 cm (without frame)
2017

 

Installation view

 

Akademie Graz – Neutorgasse 42 8010 Graz, Austria
26 April – 10 May 2017