The Twenty SS20 Issue

Confection: Felix Gonzalez Torres

By Jo Phillips

Portrait of Ross
Felix Gonzalez Torres (1991) Portrait of Ross, Candies individually wrapped in coloured cellophane

Eclecticism and individuality are key words that express the inner-workings of Felix Gonzalez Torres. As one of the foremost conceptual artists of the century, his works are flexible in their medium and understanding. With works ranging from ‘Untiltled (Perfect Lovers)’ to ‘Untitled (Public Opinion)’ Torres’ is drawn to symmetry and multiplicity creating vast aesthetically pleasing works with conceptual themes that represent the multifaceted nature of his being. During Torres’ later years he started working with confectionery; brightly coloured and tantalisingly tempting.

Felix Gonzalez Torees (1991) Placebo, Candies individually wrapped in silver cellophane

Torres’ infatuation with candy was an extremely personal/private exploration of love/loss. Utilising a medium that is steeped within years of tradition originally associated with decadents and wealth, to slavery and now love. In 1991 Torres’ partner died fighting a long battle against AIDS, causing Torres to engage in the candy sculptures, furthering his practice of relational aesthetics. The candy pieces engage the viewers to take them, creating sculptures that are continually in flux, and exemplifying the nature of letting those who you love go.

The candy works of Felix Gonzalez Torres are among some of his most known works, and some of the most recognized conceptual sculptures. The geniuses of Torres’ confectionery pieces are underpinned by their ethereal nature and ethnographic sensibility. The humble candy is recoded within the confines of the gallery, elevating their status as mere confectionery to the realm of the high arts.

Words by Jai Clarke-Binns