Useless: pointless, futile, ineffectual, unusable, stupid – regardless of how the absence of use and sense is phrased, in a world judged more and more on the merit of its added value and functionality, these words have increasingly negative connotations. But what if we free ourselves from this socio-contextual determination? Does the negation of a necessary function not grant us the greatest freedom to be creative and break through normative classification patterns in order to create something new, to experiment and finally to redefine the term “use”?
In his solo show “USELESS”, Jaybo Monk takes a closer look at exactly the dissolution of this term, in order to stage familiar objects in a new context. His objects and paintings, presented in the Hamburg branch of the Circle Culture Gallery, are rooted in the Dadaist tradition and on a quest for one thing above all: the poetry of uselessness.
“Uselessness is poetry. But poetry is useful. I try to find the same emotional level in my paintings and objects as one can find in a poem,” says Jaybo about his new work. Objects that are already imbued with meaning and function flee into the world of non-sense, in order to attain a new meditative level in their contradictions between new context and convention. No pressure anymore to serve a purpose: instead, completely open for a new beginning – when Jaybo combines mundane objects in the Dadaist tradition, elevating them to art in their new constellations, he does so with the consciousness of examining our increasingly digitalised society. A tidal wave of images are constantly breaking over us in the internet, bolstering virtual narcissism, oftentimes useless per definition and changing our view of our direct environment.
Whilst people run the danger of feeling replaceable, due to the constant deluge of technological innovation, Jaybo’s look back at the analogue aspects of life is also a retrospective of the human and his skills. Specifically targeting familiar organisational principles and visual patterns that surround the human body, he extracts single components, as in a collage, to be assembled in new contexts. Chaos robs crucifixes, horns, violin bows and other “Slingshot” ready-mades of their former purpose. The abrogation of anatomical accuracy is also celebrated in the paintings: body parts emerge random and disparate, creating with gestural brush strokes unknown but somehow connected shapes that are neither human nor natural but entirely newly created concepts: thus elevating the source of irritation to an indispensable, stimulating element of the audience experience. What remains is an opened door and the challenge to one’s own imagination, to enter a new room – far from the dictates of logic.