More than fifteen years after his death, the work of Félix González Torres (Cuba, 1954-1996) finally reaches Asia. The photograph of two empty pillows with the fresh imprint of the bodies that slept on them can be seen on billboards high above downtown Seoul. For the first time, Asia stops to reflect on the subliminal messages of this respected artist.
The exhibition in Korea is titled Double. Two exhibition spaces, the Plateau Gallery and the Leeum Museum show Gonzalez Torres’ minimalist artworks. The outdoor billboards with images of his work, strategically located around the city, are profoundly poignant to passersby.
FÉLIX GONZALEZ TORRES. Double. Installation view.
The poetics of González Torres rest in his fragility, the ephemeral nature of any presence, and contemplation in its purest state. The socially charged pieces produced in the eighties evolved toward the deeper and more abstract style found in the last years of his short life, in the 90s. It is then that he reaches his maximum definition. Already afflicted by the same illness that ended his companion’s life, he dedicated his last works to the contemplation of life as a couple, the object and subject of his love and his work.
With FGT everything is transient, mutant and interactive. That is why there is a heap of candies in a corner in any gallery that dares to show them. That is also the reason for the piles of countless copies stacked with printed cloud imagery that incites reflection “Untitled” (Aparición 1991).
For the first time, Koreans will view one of his best-known works, “Untitled” (Rossmore II) from 1991. The installation of a mound of sweets individually wrapped in cellophane weighs 75 pounds. It is a reference to the street where he lived with his partner and long time companion, Ross Laycock. The release of the gallery in Seoul reads, “The exhibition aims to reflect the continuing vitality or his art”.
FÉLIX GONZALEZ TORRES. Untitled. (Rossmore II), 1991.
Two wall clocks that mark almost exactly the same time with a difference of only a few seconds are titled Perfect Lovers. How else would you call a work as timely and emotional as two hearts that beat in unison in the same space, time?
FÉLIX GONZALEZ TORRES. Untitled (Perfect Lovers), 1991.
The Korean public will be able to capture for the first time González Torres’ commitment to the ephemeral nature of life, while witnessing the gravity of his anguish, reflected in the 44 works that are exposed in Seoul. ■