Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Felix Gonzalez Torres

The big pile of candy laying on the floor of the Art Institute of Chicago, free for the taking was memorable in my childhood mind. I did not understand why it was art though. I was a bit disturbed to learn the meaning later- that this was Felix Gonzalez Torres' edible representation of his deceased lover, Ross. 175 pounds of candy to start off with- to represent Ross' weight, and then slowly whittled away by people like me, to demonstrate the wasting that occurs to a body affected by AIDS. In a twisted way, I was cannibalizing Ross and contributing to his death.

In 1996 the Cuban-born American artist would succumb to the same disease, six years after Ross had. Though he wasn't active on the art scene for long, his quiet introspective pieces have formed a lasting impression on his audience. His work can be seen as a meditation on his own mortality, relying on audience interaction, and dealing with the unsettling themes of loss, absence, and void.

Learn More about Torres