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Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996)
Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996)


Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996)
two elements--silver plated brass
overall: 16½ x 33 in. (213.3 x 83.8 cm.)
each ring: 16½ in. diameter
Executed in 1995. This work is number five from an edition of twelve plus four artist's proofs. (2)
Patrick Painter Editions, Hong Kong and Vancouver
Acquired from the above by the present owner
"The Print Collector's Newsletter", March/April 1996, p. 29.
D. Elger, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Catalogue Raisonné, Ostfildern-Ruit, 1997, p. 140, no. 280 (illustrated).
L. G. Corrin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, London, 2000, pp. 12 and 27 (illustrated).
J. Ault, ed., Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Gottingen, 2006 pp. 27, 186 and 187 (illustrated).
Amsterdam, Bloom Gallery, Patrick Painter Editions, Canada, February-March 1996 (another example exhibited).
Museé d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Felix Gonzalez-Torres (Girlfriend in a Coma), April-June 1996 (another example exhibited).
London, Serpentine Gallery, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, June-July 2000 (another example exhibited).
Frankfurt am Main, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Change of Scene XVIII: Paare [Couples]: Gilbert & George and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, September 2000-March 2001, pp. 46-47, 52 (illustrated, another example exhibited).
London, 11 Duke Street, After Life 1, May-July 2000 (another example exhibited).
Miami, Bass Museum of Art, globe>Miami, December 2001-February 2002 (another example exhibited).
New York, Art Resources Transfer, Chapter V, August 2002 (another example exhibited).
New York and Paris, Giraud Pissarro Segalot, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Perfect Lovers, May-June 2002 (another example exhibited).
Houston, The Museum of Fine Arts, Constructing a Poetic Universe: The Diane and Bruce Halle Collection of Latin American Art, March-June 2007 (another example exhibited).
Berkeley Art Museum, MATRIX /REDUX, March-July 2008 (another example exhibited).
Brussels, Wiels Centrum, Specific Objects without Specific Form, January-April 2010 (another example exhibited).
Miami, De La Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, December 2010- November 2011 (another example exhibited).
Basel, Fondation Beyeler, Specific Objects without Specific Form, May-August 2010 (another example exhibited).
Frankfurt, MMK Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Specific Objects without Specific Form, January-April 2011 (another example exhibited).

Lot Essay

The art of Felix Gonzalez-Torres contains many dualities. Muted yet immutable, heartening yet heartbreaking, political yet tender--his work is both beautiful and moving in its concomitant expression of permanence and change. Gonzalez-Torres's personal and political urgencies fostered works of art that maintain an emotional force beneath their stark formal minimalism. Made during the height of the AIDS epidemic, in the late eighties and early nineties, his art also serves as an abiding elegy to his lost lover, Ross, who died of AIDS in 1991. It is a celebration of their love and companionship, all the while lamenting the absence left in the wake of his death.

"Untitled", executed in 1995, is a distillation of Gonzalez-Torres' most noted stylistic and conceptual hallmarks. The piece features two identical silver-coated brass rings conjoined and mounted side by side with neither explanatory text nor title elucidating their significance. Ever laconic, the rings' formal simplicity produces an effect of beguiling mystery as one attempts to divine their import. How much they resonate is owed to Gonzalez-Torres' unparalleled ability to endow elusive, if plain objects with a staggering emotional charge, meanwhile never sacrificing a gorgeous minimalist aesthetic in the process.

The motif of twin circles set abreast appears throughout Gonzalez-Torres' oeuvre. Under his deft touch, the mere juxtaposition of paired hoops evokes the joys and pleasures of pairing--and the startling anguish caused by the suggestion of separation. "Untitled" (Perfect Lovers), 1991 for example, features twin clocks ticking in unison until one inevitably starts to fail and falter. "Untitled" (March 5th) #1, 1991 presents two round mirrors side by side, framing any pair who approaches them together, and underscoring the absence of another if approached alone. In "Untitled", 1995 though the metal rings are individual segments, they mirror one another exactly, in the same way a couple passionately in love begins feeling utter correspondence. Installed side by side, they exist inextricably and forevermore together, unburdened by a future featuring one without the other. A master of symbolic gestures, Gonzalez-Torres understood that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. After all, two circles looped together form a lemniscate--indeed, the symbol for infinity.

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