Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Chemo), 1991

 
<p>Felix Gonzalez-Torres, <em>“Untitled” (Chemo)</em>, 1991, Strands of beads and hanging device; Dimensions vary with installation, Installation view at KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin (2017), © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, Photo: Frank Sperling</p>

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Chemo), 1991, Strands of beads and hanging device; Dimensions vary with installation, Installation view at KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin (2017), © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, Photo: Frank Sperling

 

Born in Cuba, the American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957–1996) settled in New York in the late 1970s. He participated in the art collective Group Material in the 1980s, was an engaged social activist, and in a relatively short time developed a profoundly influential body of work. Gonzalez-Torres’ practice has a critical relationship to conceptual art and minimalism, and mixes political critique, human affects, and deep formal concerns.

 

Spanning across a wide range of media including drawings, sculptures, and public billboards, it often incorporates as a starting point ordinary objects such as clocks, mirrors, or light fixtures. In “Untitled” (Chemo), strands of white, transparent and metallic beads are displayed as a passage between two spaces and are creating a feeling of transcendence. Whereas the beads might suggest festive associations they can also be understood as admonishing illness and disease. As it is with many other Gonzalez-Torres’ works, it was conceptually important for the artist that the meaning of “Untitled” (Chemo) remained as open as possible so that a plurality of associations around it could develop over time. Gonzalez-Torres exhibited several times at KW throughout the 1990s. To underline his presence and importance to the conceptual framework of KW, “Untitled” (Chemo) will be semi-permanently installed in the passage leading from the new entrance to the galleries.