WIELS premieres a major traveling retrospective of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ oeuvre, including both rarely seen and more known artworks, while proposing an experimental form for the exhibition that is indebted to the artist’s own radical conception of the artwork.
Gonzalez-Torres (American, b. Cuba 1957-1996), one of the most influential artists of his generation, settled in New York in the early 1980s, where he studied art and began his practice as an artist before his untimely death of AIDS related complications. His work can be seen in critical relationship to Conceptual art and Minimalism, mixing political activism, emotional affect, and deep formal concerns in a wide range of media, including drawings, sculpture, and public billboards*, often using ordinary objects as a starting point—clocks, mirrors, light fixtures. Amongst his most famous artworks are his piles of candy and paper stacks from which viewers are allowed to take away a piece. They are premised, like so much of what he did, on instability and potential for change: artworks without an already preset or specific form. The result is a profoundly human body of work, intimate and vulnerable even as it destabilizes so many seemingly unshakable certainties (the artwork as fixed, the exhibition as a place to look but not touch, the author as the ultimate form-giver).
To present the oeuvre of an artist who put fragility, the passage of time, and the questioning of authority at the center of his artworks, the exhibition will be entirely re-installed at each of its venues halfway through its duration by a different invited artist whose practice has been informed by Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ work. A first version of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Specific Objects without Specific Form by curator Elena Filipovic will open to the public and on March 5, 2010, the artist Danh Vo will re-install the exhibition, effectively making an entirely new show.
Artist: Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Venue: Wiels, Brussels
Exhibition Title: Specific Objects without Specific Form
Date: January 16 – March 4, 2010
Installation Design: Elena Filipovic
Photography: Sven Laurent.
Text (press release) and images provided by the event.