A prolific start to the year for José Luis Torres
No less than one solo and three collective exhibitions with new works by artist José Luis Torres were held in the first trimester of 2017, in the provinces of Québec and Ontario.
In January, as part of the collective exhibition Yonder, Torres created his piece Adaptation at the UWAG University of Waterloo Art Gallery, in Ontario. Co-curated by Matthew Brower and Mona Filip, this exhibition was held from January 12 to March 4. Exploring topics dear to his heart, such as intercultural bonds and the construction of identity, Torres took over the inside of the gallery with an installation made from fake fur. His work echoes the sustainable and reciprocal bonds that form among societies. The exhibition gathers together a group of Canadian artists from diverse cultural origins, whose works explore immigration in all its forms.
Also, the artist is currently taking part in the collective exhibition Module Operandi, from February 18 to April 2 at the Galerie d’art Stewart Hall in Pointe-Claire, Québec. “With Para-site, José Luis Torres restructures the gallery’s existing architecture, makes it his own, and invites visitors to do the same. Not only do content – the work of art – and container – the art gallery – blend together, but visitors who enter the structure also become an integral part of the installation. By using ordinary studs (basic elements used to build walls, which are usually covered up), Torres bares the soul of architecture, thereby helping to demystify the gallery’s space”. writes Céline Le Merlus, the co-curator of the exhibition with Manel Benchabane.
In early March, Torres presented his Cheval de Troie at one of this year’s must-see cultural events in Montréal, the 9th edition of the contemporary art festival Art Souterrain. Playfully, with a hint of irony, Cheval de Troie gathers an impressive amount of colourful objects from our familiar surroundings. The monumental installation erected in the central court of the Complexe Guy Favreau confronts visitors with the notions of expansion and excess. With its vivid colours, the polymorphous work is quickly perceived by visitors as seducing and fun. Nevertheless, there is a troubling side to it, as if it held a potential threat. This event is open until March 26.
In the Mauricie region, from March 15 to 31, the artist was invited by the Galerie d’art R3 at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, to present Point de basculement. This exhibit takes the form of a large-scale installation created mostly from furniture borrowed from the university’s storehouses. During a short creation residency, the whole space has become the ground for a series of short-lived interventions spurring a new poetic reading of the surroundings. The goal was to spark off a reflection on the occupation of the space, the notion of daily life and human precarity. This exhibit project culminated with an artist talk hosted by the Atelier Silex in Trois-Rivières.
International and Canadian interventions as well as exhibitions in Québec for José Luis Torres
José Luis Torres just came back from Argentina where he has erected his sculptural installation Tout ce qui brille n'est pas or (All that glitters is not gold) in the gardens of the Musée Supérieur des Beaux-Arts Palacio Ferreyra de Córdoba. Earlier, in October, the artist has created the intervention D’une autre nature as part of the Symposium d’art/nature: Moncton 2016. Also, he currently has two exhibitions on display in Québec, at the Galerie Lilian Rodriguez in Montréal and at the Espace Parenthèses, the exhibition space of the Cégep de Sainte-Foy in Québec City.
First, the installation D’une autre nature awaits the visitors of the Parc écologique du Millénaire de Moncton with a makeshift architectural intervention until summer 2017. A tower-shaped structure is built at the center of the park. This seemingly precarious construction, made from diverse material, is neither a nighttime shelter for squatters nor a short-lived sculptural installation. It is actually the consequence of a confrontation between these two appearances in a public space. By presenting itself as a spontaneous ambiguous assembly, the work questions the value of the park’s use.
Furthermore, in Argentina, between October 20 and 30, the artist has created his large-scale intervention Tout ce qui brille n'est pas or in the park of the Musée Supérieur des Beaux-arts Palacio Ferreyra. The installation made from scaffoldings painted in gold presents itself as an appendix overflowing from the building towards its magnificent gardens. The intervention has a critical dimension as it rises in a temporary, chaotic way on an emblematic site of the city of Córdoba, which development has an historical character. It diverts and restructures the existing architecture. The work is both a transformation and a re-appropriation of the site. The use of a precarious structure generates multiple associations with the notion of construction/deconstruction of the site’s identity. In this case, the work reiterates the paradigm of the contemporary city, understood as a living organism in perpetual mutation.
With these two creations, the artist pursues his reflection on the visitor’s interaction with his constructions. By turning the visitor into an actor of his works, José Luis Torres pushes people to take the stage, to get at the center of his interventions and become their subjects. As a vagabond, the visitor will wander inside an architectural universe in construction or in ‘’deconstruction’’, often unfinished. In addition to falling into the cultural paradigm of recycling, both site-specific installations have been created with shabby material, a work axis that the sculptor holds dear.
Torres is also currently presenting two new simultaneous solo exhibitions. Une question de fois includes works that pay a tribute to the poetic value of the object, at the Galerie Lilian Rodriguez. This new body of works’ starting point is a playful, whimsical gathering of everyday material literally reversing the viewer’s preconceived idea of certain objects. The other exhibition, Apparences trompeuses, at the Espace Parenthèses, features more than ten sculptures and four collages. They are simple, familiar things, yet they have lost their utilitarian purpose to gain a new materiality. As a camouflage, these appearances can be deceiving and often, their interpretation can be misleading.
Both exhibitions are presented until December 17, 2016.