Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Exploring Public and Private

This autumn, Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) will stage the first solo exhibition of the influential international artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996) in Greater China, 20 years after his death. Recognised for his unconventional methodology and poignant sensitivity, the late American practitioner explored the tension between the public and private, and the shared and the personal. Running from 30 September to 25 December, this comprehensive display of work constitutes a genuine renewal of his art.

Comprising over 40 pieces from 30 institutions and collections across the world, RAM’s retrospective invites audiences to examine a period of high productivity, from 1987 to 1994, which includes his output as a member of Group Material, New York, until 1991. Utilising everyday objects, such as light bulb strings, mirrors, wall clocks or printed paper, much of Gonzalez-Torres’s work appear like a puzzle; without any identifiable logic. Instead, it is up to the viewer to piece the image together and to inevitably create their own, unique picture.

Furthermore, in this, the artist’s first showcase in China, key works come into contact with a new context, as a 21st century Chinese public confronts the messages conveyed. Engaging with a postmodern symptomatology in the artworks on show, many viewers will be able to reflect upon Gonzalez-Torres’ contribution in the domain of identity politics. Broad social themes, such as the conditions of large-scale production, dominant discourses, minority representation, or the loss of personality in the currents of post-industrial society resonate throughout the exhibition. Moreover, the experience of loss, of love, the uncanny passage of time, or the hopeful quality of play can also be found in the artist’s wide-ranging oeuvre.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, 30 September – 25 December, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai.

For more, visit www.rockbundartmuseum.org.

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1. Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (North), 1993. Installation view of: Part Object Part Sculpture. Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus. © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, Courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York.