Shanghai - Exhibition

Felix Gonzalez-Torres Solo Exhibition

Rockbund Art Museum – RAM

30 Sep 201625 Dec 2016

RAM hosts a comprehensive exhibition of work by the late 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 1994, invites audiences to contemplate issues, both public and private, that are still relevant today. Throughout his work, 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 light bulbs, mirrors, wall clocks or printed sheets of paper. Other works are comprised of spills of candy , mirrors, 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.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this exhibition is the dramatic shift in the historical and cultural context of the artworks as they travel to Shanghai. Much of Gonzalez-Torres’ work allows the environment to challenge and alter 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. 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 work 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.

Audiences in China may readily recognize a postmodern symptomatology in the artworks on show; a presentation for an age of information where social media, television and the internet fragment identities and abrogate local bonds. By the late 1990’s, the Chinese art community had already recognized the value of Gonzalez-Torres’ contribution in the domain of identity politics. His peculiarly subtle way of navigating this sphere served as a model for many.  Yet, sometimes this dimension of his artwork dominated its appreciation, obfuscating some of its more pliable and generalizable aspects.

Broad social themes resonate throughout the exhibition including: the conditions of large-scale production, dominant discourses, minority representation, or the loss of personality in the currents of postindustrial society. Equally the experience of loss, of love, the uncanny passage of time, or the hopeful quality of play— the very conditions of life—can also be found in this artist’s extraordinary array of work.

 

  • Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Courtesy of RAMFelix Gonzalez-Torres. Courtesy of RAM
  • Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Courtesy of RAMFelix Gonzalez-Torres. Courtesy of RAM

Related Artists

Curators

Larys Frogier

Li Qi

Special Events

Destination: Shanghai
Where: Rockbund Art Museum – RAM
Type: Talk
Admission: Free

Traces of the Vanished Body: “Body” and “End of the Century” in the Art of Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Contacts & Details

OPENING:
tue, wed, thu, fri, sat 10:00 am - 6:00 pm; sun 10:00 am - 6:00 am

CLOSING DAYS:
mon

ADMISSION:
RMB 30; concessions RMB 10

ESTABLISHED:
2010

OWNER/DIRECTOR:
Frogier Larys


T: +86 21 3310 9985 M: info@rockbundartmuseum.org W: Rockbund Art Museum