Site/Specific/Pallet/Rock, 2013 - 2014

Basel 2016
Blondeau & Cie, Dvir Gallery, Lisson Gallery, Meyer Riegger
powder-coated aluminum, rocks
Jonathan Monk has assembled a monumental installation of seven minimalist metal structures. Each of these specially-built and color-coded pallets contains a shipment of rocks gathered from seven different contested territories in the Middle East: the countries of Egypt, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria (although no rocks could be gathered from the latter, so the pallet remains empty). Palestine, not being an officially acknowledged ‘nation’ (at least by the UN), remains an empty pedestal. Those contained landscapes, culturally displaced and geo-politically charged, each bear a different story, a different invisible psyche of its own conflicted history. Referencing Robert Smithson’s Non-Site series by shape and material – in which he brought the outside world into the art museum – these works engage in a dialectic between what is there and what is not there. Smithson once said that they ‘confounded the illusion of materiality and order.’ In Monk’s reselection of ‘non-sites’ he reflects upon a relatively recent political geography.