Felix Gonzalez-Torres

by aucourantarts

I am currently organising an exhibition with a group of other young artists and I have been toying with the idea of inviting the audience to take a piece of my work away with them. As i work with newspapers, manipulating and changing them into more unique pieces and more recently making text pieces though using the traditional process of letter-press I thought it would be fairly easy to mass produce a piece of work which would be available for the audience to take away for free, this is when I became interested in Cuba born artist, Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Gonzalez-Torres is known for his minimal sculptural installations which are often removable. In many of his exhibitions Gonzalez-Torres has huge stacks of  prints which have been provided for the audience to take away with them, although he emphasises that these prints only exist as an illustration of the original work, rather than a work itself, something which I would like to mirror within my own exhibition. although at first glance the stack of removable printouts may just look like a pile of handouts, they also act as a sculpture which as the exhibition goes by alters and depletes with time, some thing which in itself is interesting.

Gonzalez-Torres made a lot of his most recognizable works after the death of his long-time partner Ross Laycok. Untitled (1991), is a billboard which was installed in twenty-four locations throughout New York City,on the billboard there was a monochrome photograph of an unoccupied bed. In the photograph it is visible that two people have slept in the bed as both pillows have dents where the head had rested. You’d initially associate a bed with comfort and rest, but the billboard has a somber tone which hangs over it. Another piece Untitled (Perfect Lovers) was also made to honor his partner shortly after he was diagnosed with AIDS. The piece shows two identical, adjacent, battery-operated clocks which were initially set to the same time, but, with time, they would inevitably fall out of sync. “By assigning these redundant objects the title “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers), the artist transformed these public, neutral devices used for the measurement of time into personal and poetic meditations on human relationships, mortality, and time’s inevitable flow. Of the light-blue background, Gonzalez-Torres said, “For me if a beautiful memory could have a color that color would be light blue.” (moma.org) Although there is a rather serious undertone to alot of Gonzalez-Torres’s work this doesnt take over, a sence of celebration of his partners life comes through his work especially in Untitled (Perfect Lovers).

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