Harald Thys has been working with Jos de Gruyter since the second half of the 1980s. Their work casts a merciless eye over reality. By means of videos, installations, drawings, sculptures, performances, and photography, the artists give shape to their imagination of the parallel world, how it lives in the contemporary human psyche and how it manifests itself in the everyday and in social conformism. Stories about work, leisure, family, social class, masculinity and marginalisation are depicted by a cast of non-professional actors, family members, friends, objects and dolls – often in banal interiors, and charged with deranged power relationships.
Jos De Gruyter and Harald Thys represented Belgium at the 2019 Venice Biennale, where, with the exhibition MONDO CANE, they transformed the Belgian Pavilion into a folklore museum displaying the human figure.
Solo shows of the artistic duo were held in the following art institutions all over the world: BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium (2020), Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark (2018), Kunstverein München, Germany (2017), Milan Triennale, Italy (2017), CAC, Vilnius, Lithuania (2016), MoMA PS1, New York, USA (2015), CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, USA (2015), Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2014), Muzeum Ziemi Otwockiej, Otwock, Poland (2014), M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium (2013), Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Germany (2011), Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2010).
Harald Thys was born 1966 in Wilrijk, Belgium. He lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. Thys has been fascinated by the automobile since childhood, an almost compulsive passion that he shares with his brother Erik, who is also a psychiatrist, composer, visual artist and writer. Since the Berlin Biennale in 2008, they have been giving car lectures called ‘our friend the automobile’, where they subject a whole series of cars to psychoanalysis, based on the language of form that springs from the designer’s brain.