Sunday, April 4, 2010

I've recently become familiar with the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres and he is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists. This particular piece is so crisp and succinct in its message - I found it profoundly moving when I heard the background. It's called Untitled (Perfect Lovers) and it was created in 1991, shortly after his partner, Ross Laycock, was diagnosed with AIDS. The pairing of these two clocks serves as a meditation on human relationships and mortality. These two identical clocks, that touch one another, are set to the same time. As time passes the clocks fall out of sync.

Even more recently, I was visiting the website of art director/set stylist Sarah Illenberger, and I saw a similar interpretation of the same theme. I instantly compared the two pieces. Both highlight an attempt at synchronicity, perhaps speaking to the instinctive human desire to connect with others. Both acknowledge the inherent impossibility of a perfectly synchronized pair. What I also noticed were the differences between these two pieces. Gonzalez-Torres uses a light blue background. When asked about his frequent use of the color blue, Gonzalez-Torres said, “For me if a beautiful memory could have a color that color would be light blue.” Sarah chose red. The melting candle, the flame, the color red, it conjures up a romantic feeling. I can almost hear a sad love song playing in the background. Gonzalez-Torres' piece feels a bit more urgent, a bit more direct, commenting on the importance of time.

What I like about both pieces is that they take benign, common objects and inject poetry into them, transforming them into something very personal yet universally understood.

No comments:

Post a Comment