November 8, 2019 - Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys: MONDO CANE
November 8, 2019

Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Installation view of Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, MONDO CANE, Belgian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019. Courtesy and © of the artists and the Belgian Pavilion. Image: Nick Ash.

Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys
November 23, 2019

Organ Piece: November 23, 5pm, composed by Erik Thys & performed by Reverend Simons
Belgian Pavilion, Giardini, Venice, Italy
Party: November 23, 10pm, Music by DJ Nuovchka and Dj Juicy Juggs
Aeroporto Nicelli, Lido, Venice

Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Organ Piece
On the occasion of the closing weekend of the 58th Venice Biennale, the Belgian Pavilion is presenting an organ piece composed by Erik Thys and performed by Reverend Simons. The concert will take place on November 23, 2019 at 5pm in MONDO CANE, the exhibition by Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, curated by Anne-Claire Schmitz.

MONDO CANE presents itself as a local folkloric museum that displays the human figure. Silent, pale and frightened, the pavilion’s inhabitants appear as aestheticized shells, stuck in a loop of formal activity that the visitor perceives as odd and out of touch with contemporary reality. The exhibition contains some twenty dolls, most of them automated; a series of large illustrations depicting pastoral scenes; and steel bars that fence off the pavilion’s lateral recesses. 

Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys have the habit of distilling fictions out of a reality that is, sometimes, "too real." Both willingly concede that they feel attracted to the psychotic state of contemporary societies, a state that they simultaneously dread and disseminate in their work. MONDO CANE, which seizes visitors with its off-kilter realism, is in every way a continuation of this practice.

Practical Information
Free admission
Limited seating
Concert starts at 5pm sharp 
Followed by a party starting at 10pm at Aeroporto Nicelli, Lido.

Jos de Gruyter (b. 1965) and Harald Thys (b. 1966) have been collaborating since the late 1980s. Together, the artists make films, drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures in which we find characters, objects and spaces that are at once ultra-identifiable and non-authoritarian. Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys have had numerous institutional solo exhibitions including Konkurs Eksperten at Kunsthal Aarhus (2018); White Suprematism at Portikus Frankfurt and CAC Vilnius (2016); Im Reich der Sonnenfinsternis at MCA Chicago; Fine Arts at MOMA PS1, Die Schmutzigen Puppen von Pommern at The Power Station Dallas and Tram 3 at CCA Wattis (2015); Das Wunder des Lebens at Kunsthalle Wien (2014) and Optimundus at M HKA Antwerp (2013). The artists were included in the 55th Venice Biennale (2013) and the 5th Berlin Biennale (2008).

Erik Thys (b. 1961) is a Belgian author, composer, artist and psychiatrist. As a psychiatrist, Erik Thys is affiliated with the Sint Alexius Psychosocial Centre in Brussels and the University Psychiatric Centre at the KU Leuven. He wrote the book “Psychogenocide” about the nazi mass murder of psychiatric patients and is president of KAOS, an organization at the intersection between art and psychiatry. Erik Thys also works regularly with Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys. He composed music for several of their films in which he also appears as actor and composed and performed organ concerts in churches in San Fancisco, Berlin, Vienna and Basel.

Further information: belgianpavilion2019 [​at​]

Next to the exhibition, MONDO CANE further develops as a website to be found at and a publication. Both are additional spaces for unfolding and exploring the posture of the project. MONDO CANE’s publication works as a compilation of articles reporting various facts and events about the world that surrounds us. Each article comprises a descriptive text and one or more illustrations. The book is, from the outset, an international publication. The texts appear, at random, in Dutch, English, French, German and Italian. The edition is co-published with BOZAR – Centre for Fine Arts, and La Loge, Brussels. 

Practical Information
Publisher: Fonds Mercator
It can be ordered at MercatorfondsYale University Press, Exhibitions International, and is available to purchase at the Venice Biennale, among others.

Further information : 

MONDO CANE is commissioned by Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. 
In 2020, MONDO CANE will be presented at BOZAR  from February 19 to May 24. 
For more information: BOZAR - leen.daems [​at​]

Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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