THE WORLD OF THINGS: MARC MONZó - 28 May 2008 - 01 Jul 2008

The world of things: Marc Monzó
Klimt02 | Gallery presents in Barcelona on a solo show the Catalan artist Marc Monzó where he will present works from 2001 up to 2008 and a book of  the last 10 years of his work published by Klimt02.

Investigating the everyday
Marc Monzo and the world of things

The world of things that surrounds us can be regarded as logical and intelligible. But it might also be looked upon as an enigmatic and largely unknown system, crossed and re-crossed by complex meanings and connections veiled under a seemingly simple surface. Sudden ruptures in the humdrum of the everyday can make us aware of this secret life of objects. An unexpected juxtaposition of things, or their incidental displacement, often reveals to us something new about their character. Objects that at first seem remote to each other can now come across as wondrously connected and close. Clusters and aggregations may insist on being regrouped; bonds of kinship become established between apparently disparate categories. Engaging oneself deeply with the material world could mean a need to explore the grid of relations between forms, materials, colours, and purposes that lurks beneath the evident and the familiar.

Marc Monzo reports often getting the feeling that objects are connected and depend on one another. When approaching the artefacts around him as an area to investigate and to use in his jewellery, he does not search for pieces loaded with individual significance. On the contrary, he sets out to study forms and meanings that present themselves only when seen as parts of a conglomerate of things. It is not the lone objects that are crucial here, but the connections between them, their similarities and familiarities. Tackling the world of things as a flexible structure of relations that is open to manipulation, rather than as a strict code to be deciphered, Marc Monzo puts this world into play.

The jewellery of Marc Monzo reflects his love of the everyday, of the seemingly mundane. In his works we encounter not only forms suggestive of domestic objects, but also actual ready-mades such as cheap plastic commodities – things we know and are used to handling. Despite their modesty, these artefacts convey the forceful energy, or the rhetorical power, of a world of things that is present, available, and factual. For Marc Monzo, working as a jeweller does not mean to escape into an ivory tower of aesthetics and preciousness. Like many of his contemporaries, he insists on jewellery’s ability to reflect and become part of the everyday life. This is jewellery for the street, the shop, the club, and the home, rather than the highbrow gallery or a museum. The desire to overcome the conventions of jewellery is also reflected in Marc Monzo’s attempts to obscure or level out the value of the materials, as when grouping plastics and precious metals together and covering them with the same monochromatic paint. In such series of pieces, Marc Monzo playfully creates new families out of apparently disparate materials and objects, paying not much heed to previously established categories. There is a noteworthy symbolic undercurrent in this act of inclusion and addition that reveals the group not as a fixed entity, but instead as an expanding collective open to new acquaintances.

When exploring the world around him and turning his findings into jewellery, Marc Monzo makes use of a constantly shifting perspective. In some pieces, he subjects small and oft-neglected objects to minute scrutiny, while in others he applies a grand bird's-eye view covering the whole of his home continent. Like a restless photographer, he is zooming in and out on his motifs, testing different lenses, and constantly varying his vantage points. The working method seems to imply a conviction that true knowledge of the world will only be gained through a multiplicity of the views on it. While certain qualities in objects can only be appreciated through a detailed examination, others might require a more dispassionate view, as if looking from the corner of one’s eye or from an aeroplane window.

Despite its seemingly flâneur-like character, this investigation into the richness of the material world is not plan less. But rather than adhering to a systematic or scientific method, Marc Monzo approaches his field of study with a set of ever-changing tools. If there is a logic to it, it is the puzzling logic of dreams; small becomes big, big becomes small, objects change colour or position in a slightly absurd fashion. A ring is adorned with a set of other rings, another ring is magnified and made into a brooch, yet another ring is placed around the stem of a glass. Pins with multicoloured spherical plastic heads, as if fresh out of a notice board, take on the character of earrings; a largish sphere – a ping pong ball – is carefully covered with silver and paint and turned into a brooch. Or is it rather a pale spectre of our globe in miniature?

Marc Monzo’s way of making jewellery can be likened to the practice of making maps. But rather than an unknown terrain, it is his own lived reality that becomes the object of study. Marc Monzo looks at the world around him, pictures it, and thereby gives his work the character of an ongoing investigation into the realm of the everyday. Nonetheless, we are far from the field of social realism here; what is emphasised is rather the mystic or ritual connections between objects themselves and between the artist and the world. As notes the artist himself, “the pieces appear according to my most immediate needs, which turns the manipulated matter into a map of my reality.”

Still, the works do not explain the world to us like a proper map would tend to do. What the artist and his jewellery present to us is a world in fragments that become symbolically scattered, shuffled, perhaps strewn on like confetti on our clothes.

Love Jönsson

Love Jönsson is a free-lance critic and writer and a member of the faculty of the School of Design and Crafts at Göteborg University, Sweden. 


 Double and triple  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Brooch: Double and triple, 2006.
Silver, car paint.
6 x 5 cm.
 Hoops collection  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Bracelet: Hoops collection, 2008.
Silver, plastic.
Ø 6,5 cm.
 Black star  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Brooch: Black star, 2008.
Silver, iron perclorurum plated.
6,5 x 6,5 cm.
 1 mm  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Brooch: 1 mm, 2008.
18K gold, lacquer, silver.
5,5 x x1,5 cm.
 Minichain  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Pendant: Minichain, 2008.
Gold plated silver.
1,5 x x18 cm.
 A flat surface  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Ring: A flat surface.
Silver, rodium or gold plated.
3 x 2,5 cm.
 Plastic sticks  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Necklace: Plastic sticks.
Plastic, textile.
6 x 40 cm.
 Europe map  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Brooch: Europe map, 2008.
Alpaca, lacquer, steel.
7,5 x 4 cm.
 Electroforming  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Brooch: Electroforming.
Plastic, silver, steel.
4 x 7 cm.
 Untitled  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Brooch: Untitled.
Silver, lacquer, steel.
4,5 x 4,5 cm.
 Ping pong ball  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Pin: Ping pong ball.
Ping pong ball, silver, lacquer.
4 x 4 cm.
 1 point  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Earrings: 1 point.
Silver, lacquer.
2,5 x 2,5 cm.
 Tears, diamonds and ties  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Earrings: Tears, diamonds and ties.
Silver, lacquer.
1 x 3 cm.
 Heart pin  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Pin: Heart pin.
Silver, lacquer.
1,2 x 2,3 cm.
 Olympic  by Marc Monzó
Marc Monzó.
Brooch: Olympic.
Gold plated silver, steel.
3 x 6 cm.