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Three solo exhibitions by José Luis Torres

Junio 2017

With two solo exhibitions in Ontario and a third one in British-Columbia, artist José Luis Torres has just opened a new series of fruitful, diversified projects.

In Ottawa, from April 7 to May 20, his exhibition Fantasmeshas been opened to the public at the Ottawa School of Art Orleans Campus Gallery of the Shenkman Arts Centre. His assemblies convey the playful spirit of numerous diverted objects. In this exhibition, the artist analyses the function of these objects in our culture’s human activities. All the while, he highlights how these objects are also the means by which we access representations of ourselves. Manipulated, gathered together, transformed, they become works that confront visitors and invite them to question the impact of their daily actions.

In British-Columbia from April 29 to June 3, Torres was invited by the Arnica Artist Run Centre in Kamloops, where he presented The eloquences of the objects. This exhibition took the form of a site-specific installation made from material found on the public roads. Tied together, stacked, propped against each other, a multitude of objects were integrated into a sculptural set-up, in a balancing act skillfully achieved through tension and fulcrums. Like nomads, visitors wandered inside this universe in construction – or in deconstruction – on an unfinished path. 

Back in Ontario, the artist created the exhibition De l'horizontal au vertical at the Karsh-Masson Gallery in Ottawa, from May to June 11. “De l'horizontal au vertical (From Horizontal to Vertical) provides José Luis Torres with an opportunity to fill the Karsh-Masson Gallery with his personal vision and produce a newly imagined environment. The reconfigured gallery displays both the process and the result of an exercise in cartography whereby the artist maps his own reality. His way of occupying space; his approach to the transformation, presentation and manipulation of objects; even the materials he works with are all important markers of his artistic universe. After all, although site-specific art provides a clearer window into an artist’s thought process, thereby supporting a more faithful representation of reality, this reality remains steeped in subjectivity.”, writes Céline Le Merlus in the catalogue of the exhibition.

With these three exhibitions, the artist carries on his reflection on the interaction between the visitors and his works. Transforming spectators into actors of his installations, José Luis Torres pushes them at the center of the stage, and turns them into subjects of the works.

Photo Credit: City of Ottawa

A prolific start to the year for José Luis Torres

Marzo 2017

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.