Wednesday 13 October 2010
One of the most surprising survey exhibitions that I have ever encountered profiled the artworks of Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
Born in Cuba in 1957, he moved to Madrid for 3 months in 1970 and then relocated to Puerto Rico where he stayed with his aunt and uncle. In 1979, Felix gained a fellowship from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and in the following year attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. After graduating from Pratt he met his life partner, Ross Laycock.
Between 1987 and 1995, Felix created artwork that continues to be tactical, motivating and amongst the most fluent art from that generation. There is an intense questioning of melancholy in Felix’s work.
Felix’s comments about his art process are revelatory:
“Perhaps between public and private, between personal and social, between fear and loss and the joy of loving, of growing, changing, of always becoming more, of losing oneself slowly and then being replenished all over again from scratch. I need the viewer, I need the public interaction. Without a public these works are nothing, nothing. I need the public to complete the work.”
“Someone’s agenda has been enacted to define ‘public’ and ‘private.’ We’re really talking about private property because there is no private space anymore. Our intimate desires, fantasies, dreams are rules and intercepted by the public sphere.”
“Described in spatial terms, this narrative takes the form of a continuous journey in which one travels away from the self-as-referent to the social-as-mirror and back again.”
“As with all artistic practices… [my work] is related to the act of leaving one place for another, one which proves perhaps better than the first.”