Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who died at the early age of 38 in 1996, is considered one of the most influential artists of his generation whose legacy still remains strongly present in the current art historical discourse.
Born in 1957 in Cuba and immigrated to New York City in 1979, the artist did not allow his racial and sexual minority status to marginalize his presence in the art world, instead developing his own unique body of work by appropriating the existing visual language of modernism. At the same time, he actively engaged the viewer in his works, subverting the contemporary art practice through its endless transformation and destruction of form. The artist, who was initially trained as a photographer, was also well-versed in the theories of post-structuralism and continuously questioned the authority of the subject. Challenging tradition, monumentality and even his own authority as an artist, Gonzalez-Torres emphasized the mutability of meaning and form through viewer participation in order to keep his work alive.
Utilizing everyday objects such as billboards, clocks, puzzles, candies and paper stacks, Gonzalez-Torres's oeuvre profoundly examined the "public" function of contemporary art, and at the same time presented strictly private contemplations on love and death. While the loss of his partner Ross Laycock and his own pending death as AIDS patient were an inevitable reality to the artist, the endless supply of materials and infinite possibilities of interpretation in his work reveal the artist's own desire for permanence and renewal. From the socially critical works of the 1980s to the more contemplative and poetic works of the 1990s, his oeuvre achieves its distinct perspective through the juxtaposition of the private and public, as well as the poetic and political.
The first museum presentation of Gonzalez-Torres's work in Asia, the current exhibition proposes a dual presentation at both PLATEAU and Leeum through the repetition and reconfiguration of identical works under theme of 'Double'. Exploring the endless possibilities of form and meaning unique to Gonzalez-Torres's oeuvre, this exhibition hopes reflect the continuing vitality of Gonzalez-Torres's art that continues to inspire countless artists in contemporary art today.