Covered Motorbike by Jonathan Monk at the Gelderlandplein

5 September 2017

Another great sculpture has been place at the Gelderlandplein in Amsterdam in collaboration with our friends at Reflex. This time it is a work by British artist Jonathan Monk.

If one is familiar with the work of Monk, it comes as no surprise that this sculpture triggers confusion and uses a cheeky form of deception to make visitors of the Gelderlandplein stop in their tracks. Because at first sight, his Covered Motorbike does not seem to be out of place next to several rows of parked bikes.

We know of Monk’s appropriation of Pop Art and Conceptual art. He has used seminal works and ideas from modern, Conceptual, and Minimalist art predecessors like Mark Rothko, Bruce Nauman, and Sol LeWitt. Jeff Koons was the subject of Deflated Sculpture (2009), where he remade Koons’s 1986 Rabbit as a series of five stainless steel sculptures in progressive states of deflation. In the “Rew-Shay Hood Project” (2008-2011), Monk commissioned a hot-rod painter to airbrush photographs from Ed Ruscha’s 1967 Twentysix Gasoline Stations on to the hoods of classic muscle cars.

And then there is his love for situations and object coming from his own daily life. In Search of Gregory Peck (1997) shows found photographs of the artist’s father as a tourist in Europe in the 1950s and The Gap Between My Mother and My Sister (1998) chronicles the trip between the homes of his mother and sister. Monk’s ongoing series Meetings (begun in 1999) proposes future dates and locations as hypothetical invitations to congregate, playing off of the text-based work of Lawrence Weiner and On Kawara. In 2002 Monk passed time as 50 nearly-identical photographs of the artist were developed in 50 different one-hour labs.

Back to his Covered Motorbike. The sculpture was lifted into its place by a crane and is now permanently parked along Amsterdam’s omnipresent bicycles. It will join everyday life at the square, making it a bit more enjoyable. One could say this is what public sculpture is meant for.

P.S. The other works at the Gelderlandplein, by KAWS, Marcus Harvey, Erwin Worm, Donald Baechler, Lars Fisk, Joel Morrison and Patricia Piccinini are equally spectacular, funny, and/or beautiful as well. So, go visit this wonderful project!

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