Felix Gonzalez-Torres 费利克斯·冈萨雷斯-托雷斯
2016年 9月 30日 – 2016年 12月 25日
The Rockbund Art Museum is honored to present the first solo exhibition of the influential international artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996) in Greater China. From September 30th to December 25th, 2016, RAM will host a exciting exhibition of work by the American artist, who is renowned for his unconventional methodology and poignant sensitivity. The unique nature of his work takes this exhibition beyond a retrospective; it constitutes a genuine renewal of his art.
Selected from 30 institutions and collections across the world, the exhibition includes over 40 pieces, spanning from 1987 to 1995, allows audiences to contemplate a broad and meaningful selection of the artist’s works. The tension between the public and private, the shared and the personal, comprises a recurrent theme for Gonzalez-Torres. Many of the artist’s works consist of everyday objects, such as strings of lightbulbs, mirrors, wall clocks or printed sheets of paper. Other works are comprised of spills of candy and jigsaw puzzles. His artwork itself is like a puzzle, but lacking a univocal order. Its demure minimal aesthetic solicits the audience to put the pieces together for themselves, inviting a plurality of pictures to emerge.
There is a vibrancy to his work. One of the more unusual senses to be engaged is that of taste. In the corner of the exhibition space on the 2nd floor, the viewer will find one of the most recognizable works of Gonzalez-Torres’, “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), which is an extremely sensitive and delicate way of portraying someone through an intimate gesture of connecting one’s body to another.
Other works tend toward the more visually arresting. For instance, “Untitled” (Go-Go Dancing Platform) consists of a simple blue platform lined with light bulbs. Once a day, for only a few minutes, a Go-Go dancer in silver shorts dances on the platform to the music that is audible only to himself. Another work “Untitled” (Arena) consists of a string of lights hung from the ceiling. Headphones are set nearby allowing the viewers to waltz in the sparkling festive enclosure. Other works, suggest a more muted tone, such as the piece “Untitled” (Loverboy), which consists of sheer blue curtains hanging over the museum’s second floor windows, transforming the space into a romantic and personal atmosphere..
It is well known that Gonzalez-Torres produced his work in the 80's and 90's in an American society and art community profoundly affected by the AIDS epidemic. However, it would be a mistake to engage with his work as simply dealing with homosexual issues or the AIDS crisis. These issues represent that circumstances under which the works were made, and can be understood as platforms for exploring human values, relationships and aspirations at large, both in the artist and in the viewer. In fact, one of the most intriguing aspects of this exhibition is the dramatic shift in the historical and cultural context of the artworks as they are exhibited in Shanghai. Much of Gonzalez-Torres’ work allows the environment to shape its aesthetic. By staging the exhibition in contemporary China, it will open up the artist’s work to a new context, as a 21st century Chinese public confronts its message for the first time. Audiences in China may readily recognize a postmodern diagnostic in the artworks on show. It is certainly a presentation relevant to an age of information, where social media and the internet tend to fragment personal identities and abrogate local bonds.
20 years since his passing, RAM is able to present the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres afresh, moving beyond the labels that once constrained its definition. Its uniquely interactive nature entails that meaning is not only discovered, but also contributed by its audience. This reciprocity is what makes Gonzalez-Torres both an artist of the polity, and in the end altogether intimate. Quirky and opaque, sharp and humorous: the pieces presented in this forthcoming exhibition will incite introspection just as they draw its audiences together.
Rockbund Art Museum would like to thank the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation and the many institutions that graciously loaned their pieces, both for their generous help and their assistance in bringing this exhibition into realization.