Monica Gallab

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Artist: Monica Gallab

Works at: Seoul Art Space_GeumCheon
Stays in: 2013
Genre: Visual Arts/ Animation, Installation, Drawing
2007-09  Animation cinema, ENSAV La Cambre / Brussels, Belgium
2006-07  Fine Art drawing, ENSAV La Cambre / Brussels, Belgium
2002-05 BA (Hons) Animation and film production, The Arts Institute at Bournemouth / United Kingdom

Solo exhibition
2012, Will you miss me when I am gone? Gyeonggi Creation Center, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
2011, # 1 to # 8, Despacio Martinez, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2010, CONSIDER YOURSELF OU... AUSSI PARFOIS, b-Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
2009, Consider Yourself, White and Dark Box, Brussels, Belgium

Group exhibition
2012, An invitation to Island of The Big Hills, Gyeonggi Creation Center, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
2012 , Art Studio Network 2012, Bongsan Cultural Art Center, Daegu, Korea
2011, 0800-timon, El Barco Centenera, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2010, De Canvascollectie / La Collection RTBF, BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium
2009, Courants d’Airs festival, The Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium
2009, Prix Médiatine, Nice Day for a Picnic, La Médiatine, Brussels, Belgium
2008, Les Transnumériques #3, Transcultures, Mons, Belgium
2007, Moustache Collectif, Brussels, Belgium

2010, B-Gallery selection, Brussels, Belgium
2009 , Prix Médiatine, La Médiatine, Brussels, Belgium
2009, Best student film Anifest, Czech Republic
2009, Best animation film in the category THEMES AND RYTHMS Anima’09, Cordoba, Argentina
2009, Special Jury Award Con-Can Movie Festival, Tokyo, Japan

2013, Seoul Art Space Geumcheon, Seoul, Korea ( March-May)
2012  Artist  Residency Program, Gyeonggi Creation Center, Gyeonggi-do, Korea (March-August)


<Nice Day for a Picnic>, animation, 2008

<Nice Day for a Picnic>, animation,  2008

<Nice Day for a Picnic>, animation, 2008

<Eating Soup>, three channel animation installation, 2012

<The Proper way to eat soup>, animation, 2012

Monica Gallab

In hopeless attempts to escape the trivial ceremonies that summarize the mundane of human existence, I create fairy tales of everyday life. Daily rituals transform into brutalities. Somewhere between nostalgia and domestic tyranny, my characters live a life of performance, monotonous and absurd.

Every Strange Thing: on the work of Monica Gallab
Liz Park (Curator)
In those rare moments when we pause to take note of something familiar, its ordinariness begins to unravel. When we repeat the name of a thing, again and again - chair, chair, chair - its name and function lose their naturalness; why is it called a chair and why should we sit on it?
In Monica Gallab’s work, everyday objects are animated through mundane actions, yet the combination of all the disjunctive quotidian elements makes the subject strange. In her three channel video installation <Untitled (Ascension)> (2012), a massive column of piled up chairs spans the height of three stacked monitors, and a little naked man incessantly climbs. Yet, he is always seen in the same spot. Her untitled mixed media work from 2010 similarly presents an agonizingly endless task. A series of amputated hands on a motorized wheel whirl around in a circle as they frantically sew a piece of fabric under the strobe light that acts as a shutter and creates the animated effect. Similar to the naked man who is not going anywhere despite his best efforts, the busy hands never make any progress, and frustrate such ideals as productivity, prudence, and frugality associated with this domestic chore.
Gallab intentionally highlights the process and the effort, and conspicuously eradicates the outcome - perhaps because the ultimate aim of these tasks is the perpetuation of the cycle itself. In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was punished by the gods to roll a large boulder to the hilltop. Each time, upon nearing its destination, the stone would roll down, forever dooming him to repeat the same action. The cruel goal of the punishment was eternal repetition. This story finds many parallel contemporary examples of unending labor and a blind climb to the top. Yet, unlike Sisyphus who submitted to the gods’ retribution, Gallab’s work quietly resists such grueling and systemic punishment by over-exaggerating the situation and revealing its absurdity. The vulnerability of the naked man, the impossible tower of chairs that stand in for countless individuals, the disembodied and anonymous toiling hands - they are animated to reveal the mechanism of a system that ultimately does not care for the hands that turn the wheel.
Gallab’s three channel animation <Eating Soup> (2012) is perhaps the most revealing of the artist’s ironic approach to her subject. In this mock-instructional video that painstakingly details the proper way of eating, a simple everyday activity is drawn out to an epic ceremonial proportion. The distance between the bowl and the diner, her composure, the direction of the spoon - nothing is taken for granted in defining what is considered “proper.” Such simple actions and things become infused with class and cultural values. In Gallab’s video, it is made obvious that the “proper” way is in fact a western, bourgeois mode of behavior. In dissecting what is often unspoken and naturalized, the video turns the concept of propriety upside down, and forces us to look at the underside.
There is no reason why a chair should stand only on its four legs. Turning it upside down may interrupt the object’s preconceived function momentarily, but it reveals its construction and the structure. It renders the object strange and its name begins to feel arbitrary. But this strangeness reveals much more about our own set of assumptions about the object and how to behave with and around it. In a subtle, quiet, but disturbing way, Gallab’s work probes the settled ways of looking at our everyday world, filled with ordinary objects animated by unremarkable actions. In her animations - or the act of giving life to the staid and the still - every strange thing stares back at us.