The exhibition’s title, Monk ><Nannucci, includes the symbols for “greater than” and “less than,” which effectively visually connect the artists’ last names, concisely mark their closeness and convey a sense of mutual exchange. The distance between the two artists’ generation is reduced to nothing in the thoughtful reflection that each artist makes about the history of art through their work. Where Nannucci is minimal, precise, yet poetic, Monk is wry, witty, and sometimes unexpectedly caustic. As the artists themselves have noted, though their explorations run parallel in many aspects, they have interesting points of intersection. One such intersection is their referencing key figures of 20th-century art like Alighiero Boetti. Boetti has come up as in Monk’s work many times, sometimes explicitly or sometimes less so. Monk’s many maps are a contemporary version of Boetti’s original maps; his “self measurements” are, in essence, the offspring of the witty, classifying approach often seen in Boetti.
For Quartz Studio, Monk and Nannucci created two neon works—Nannucci’s preferred mode of expression and often used by Monk too. Both works, SOME WORDS WRITTEN BY SOMEONE ELSE FOR SOMEONE ELSE by Nannucci and Untitled (Via Luigi Santini, Roma) by Monk, are made in two different shades of blues and refer both in words and symbols to someone “other” than themselves. In this intent to dialogue, the dynamic the two artists deploy is not limited merely to their identities; it opens to other subjects and forms of sharing, in a careful process of artistic reworking including the past and the present of eminent artists they knew, and the paradoxical identity behind anonymous street graffiti. Part of the osmotic design approach they implemented for Quartz Studio is the reworking of Manifesto (Poster), an Alighiero Boetti work from 1967 in which the last names of friends that Boetti had listed in the original are replaced by those chosen by Monk and Nannucci themselves, paired with other cryptic symbols.