Jonathan Monk’s One Hundred Meals Between Rome and Berlin (Humboldt Books, Milan 2016) is the perfect example of how an artist’s publication found a synergy with a digital counterpart, just like so many others to come. With this artist book, the British artist playfully recreates works by different artists across media, such as photographs, drawings, objects, installations, and films, addressing the impossibility of being original.
by Marines Salcedo Gutierrez. Photographs courtesy of SMV – Studio Moretti Visani
Jonathan Monk’s One Hundred Meals Between Rome and Berlin collects the different artworks that the artist recreated, with pencils or watercolors, on restaurant receipts from meals that he had either alone or in company during his travels.
One Hundred Meals Between Rome and Berlin is a small yet quite thick, soft-covered book. The colored images on uncoated paper show a range works from artists such as Maurizio Cattelan and Sol LeWitt, drawn onto receipts from restaurants, cafes, or pizzerias. It displays an artwork per page, printed to recreate its original size.
All pages are stapled together, enclosed under laminated covers that feature either a bright blue or a pink stripe at the top, just like the small notepad where the waiter takes customers’ orders.
This artist book lets the pictures speak for themselves. However, as a final chapter, there is a little text that adds some context, establishing a connection between art, mundanity, and finance.
Something the artist continues to play with on his Instagram account, shifting back and forth from the virtual to the real, selling the work to random followers that put up their names for this digital raffle.
One post at a time, shifting once again from the real to the digital, and for some, back to reality again.
This first stage of the project turned indeed into a neverending series, as he carries it through on his Instagram profile (@monkpictures), sharing and putting up for sale new drawings with their prices assigned by the total of the bill.
Almost as if he was playing to the history and stereotypes of many artists, bohemian or simply undiscovered, who lived one meal at a time, trading artworks for a hot plate.