José Luis Torres

Photo credit: Adam Kuzik

Artist statement

José Luis Torres was born in Argentina and has a Bachelor's Degree in visual arts, a Master's Degree in sculpture and training in architecture and integrating art with architecture. He has been living and working in Quebec since 2003.

His work has been showcased in many solo and group exhibitions, in public interventions and artist residencies in Canada, Argentina, the United States, Mexico and Europe.


In my work, I attempt to stimulate the relationship between location, my pieces and the individual experiencing it. My artistic practice is mainly sculpture, installation and site-specific projects. It is propelled by the notion of appropriation of space and by the hijacking of meaning, through simple actions on materials from our daily surroundings. 

The strategies I use when approaching the use of space play an important role in my creative process. My pieces are frequently spontaneous configurations, in the form of site-specific installations and ephemeral interventions with architectural aspects. 

Spectators are invited to look, explore and experience the physical work of art which is life sized. 

The goal of my constructions, accumulative, viral and invasive, is not the form but rather the action of giving form to a use or a situation. The dialogue established between the location and the piece of work directly influences the configuration of my constructions, which are sometimes created without sketches or plans, the choice of materials and their proportion.  

Beyond their sometimes-rudimentary aspect, my works touch on the notion of the memories of a location, a building and the inhabitants. Some of my projects also integrate the public in in their production.  

In my projects, my pieces are “staged” as to rethink the conventional exhibition standards for works of art, but also the idealized image of the artist. “Make do with” is a need of mine and one of the basis of my process. 

Each is piece is anchored in a reflection on the phenomenon of coexistence with the elements, each element changing to form different environments and permanent evolution. Progressive constructions and “de-constructions” that explore the ways in which we occupy space.  

In my recent projects, I tackle the question of the objects’ value as witnesses of history, and their paradoxical status, as they are both fundamental and incidental. Through multiple manipulations, I explore the mechanisms of the construction/deconstruction of their identity. 

In the last few years, I have created “installative” and short-lived works. These mostly large-scale pieces are integrated into the architecture or into their immediate surroundings. Such projects have allowed me to create autonomous works in the public space that act as “indicators” of contemporary art. These works settle in and relate to the sites with their large scale and their ability to take charge of the context they invest, whether it is a natural or urban setting.

With a particular interest in the symbolic value of the object, I offer through each project a series of experiences where the architectural, cultural and social specificities of the site are intrinsically connected.