Mario Garcia Torres is as mischievous as he is thoughtful. Using video, photography and slide show as his core material, Torres appropriates existing artworks and by placing them in a different context, expands on their original meanings. In a sense he is an investigator of the intangible, with a focus on the creative act and how this act changes with time and situation.
In What Happens in Halifax Stays in Halifax (2004-2006), Torres organised a reunion of students who took part in a conceptual artwork by Robert Barry in 1969. Through a showreel of photography and text, Torres carries the audience through a meandering narrative, telling of his quest to re-awaken a secret that had allegedly only ever been held in thought by classmates up until that point. The apparent failure of this quest, due to diminished student numbers and the erosion of memory with time, reminds us that the act of investigation, rather than the discovery of truth, can offer very different, if not more interesting conclusions.
In A Brief History of Jimmie Johnson’s Legacy (2006), Torres combines archival footage, voiceover and contemporary re-enactments. The video takes inspiration from the story of Jimmie Johnson, who set the record for the quickest visit around the Louvre, presenting a potted history of the various occasions this performance has been re-staged since the 1960’s. Torres’ humorous account of performative acts of sabotage in the museum context raises questions around the validation of performance, its legacy and its shift in meaning when imitated.
Mario Garcia Torres’ residency was granted as part of The Cartier Award, a major initiative by Frieze Projects in collaboration with Gasworks and sponsored by Cartier. Torres developed a new work to be released at Frieze Art Fair and his residency provided him with an open ended opportunity to develop his practice in London.
Thursday 11 October, 4pm
For Frieze Art Fair 2007 Mario Garcia Torres reframed the body of work of film auteur Allen Smithee through a series of interventions around the fair. Smithee delivered a keynote lecture elaborating the complex relationships between his public persona and the long filmography for which he became known.
To listen/download this lecture see the website.