Ruyzdael’s co-founder Ferry van Zijderveld aka UNDOG, presents his latest project: MONOMANIA. A meditative performance, exhibition and book that merges his background in graffiti, design and branding to a new process of (re)claiming space.
Three years deep into a worldwide pandemic, it is safe to argue that life has not particularly gotten more exciting. Most of the thrill is gone, and it seems like the only element of surprise we get to experience is a new variant dominating the news cycle every quarter of a year. But if history has taught us anything, art will always find a way to be the solace we need. And with the world slowly opening back up again, for better or for worse, more and more artists emerge from their hibernation to provide this comfort—a blessing for the audience, but maybe even more for themselves.
The repetitiveness of the past few years surely has taken its toll on many people. And with measures and restrictions, our space to live, play and create have been downsized to an extreme dearth. You see it with the number of protests worldwide, as well as the shaky political balances and the (rightful) public retaliations–no sacred cow is safe.
How do we process this in the new normal? How do we (re)claim our space? Ruyzdael’s co-founder, Ferry van Zijderveld, also known as UNDOG, started with this question to work on his newest project. Over the years, Van Zijderveld has worked as a designer (at HOTEL and Festina, among others) while incorporating his background in graffiti and arts. The new project, titled: MONOMANIA, brings these experiences together. Creating something that continues as well as reflects on his previous work.
For Van Zijderveld the process is as important as the end-result. A lesson learned by many in the past few years. We’ve come to revalue our spaces, peace and place. Values that oddly enough all come back in graffiti. Graffiti is, after all, about claiming space, but even in his work as a designer there is almost always something physical and disruptive for Van Zijderveld. MONOMANIA is no different. And on the brink of starting this ambitious project, he hopes to create something that is visceral and physical once again.
The difference, however, between MONOMANIA and his other projects is that the transcendence is not just reserved for the audience. MONOMANIA is more for and about Van Zijderveld himself than anyone else. The project starts with a repetitive performance at Galerie Larik in Utrecht, in which Van Zijderveld will paint one thousand crosses on white sheets of paper with black spray paint. As meditative as it is exhausting, the aim is to “reclaim the surface” and find a new way to appreciate the process of creating. He explains: “The cross, often used before as a detail in my previous work as a graffiti writer, is now elevated to the main abstraction where line and composition (execution) clash with the act of repetition. I will search for the ‘perfect occupation’ of the surface, and I will do this non-stop until I am done.”
The performance is the first of three parts that make up the project, but for Van Zijderveld, the performance is the most crucial part. “I am mainly curious about whether this project helps me as a maker,” he says. “Some of my previous projects are connected to this one, as they also focus on the practice rather than the result. It is about doing the work, and by doing it in this repetitive way, I hope it will bring me into a meditative mindset. I want to feel what it is like to work without distraction.”
The performance of MONOMANIA, which will be open to the public and can also be seen via an online livestream, is followed by an exhibition at Galerie Larik, showing a selection of the results from Van Zijderveld’s performance. The 1000 crosses will be photographed and bundled into a 1000 page-counting, 2kg book, showing each work on a page. It will be published by Ruyzdael and is available for pre-order soon.
MONOMANIA starts on February 24th at 10:00 AM at Galerie Larik in Utrecht. It will be open to the public and available to see online through a Livestream at Ruyzdael.com. The exhibition will be on view at the gallery in June. The MONOMANIA book will be available at Ruyzdael from February 24th.