Small Fires Burning

Filminstallation by Jonathan Monk
Commissioned by Grazer Kunstverein
World Premiere: Grazer Kunstverein 2003

Austria // 2003 // 30 sec // 16 mm // Loop // Commissioned Film


For the exhibition at the Grazer Kunstverein Jonathan Monk created a film that once again gives an impetus to the merry-go-round of artistic value. Its starting point is a limited-edition monograph by Ed Ruscha of 1964, which comprises photographs of various burning objects, such as a lighter, a blowtorch, a stove or a glass of milk. Several years later the American artist Bruce Nauman embarked on the task of burning the individual pages of Ruscha's book, photographing the process, and producing another limited-edition monograph. Jonathan Monk's small fires burning (after Ed Ruscha after Bruce Nauman after) is yet another loop added to this process.

One copy of Ed Ruscha's book, which meanwhile fetches $1,600 on the market, is burned page by page. "The act of burning can indeed generate an increase in value", Raimar Stange writes in his text accompanying the exhibition. In the context of the cultural and economic requirements of a Cultural Capital event, the transformation process of a "continuous destruction" obtains a special quality.

Concept / Directed by

Jonathan Monk


Martin Putz


Gabriele Kranzlbinder, Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu