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A very full summer for José Luis Torres

Septiembre 2017

With a solo exhibit and a series of 5 semi-permanent sculptural artistic installations in the public space, artist José Luis Torres is concluding a fruitful, diversified stint of presentations. 

First, his Tour de force, a large-scale outdoor work, was created especially for the 50th anniversary of the Maison des arts Desjardins in Drummondville. A major intervention made from a multitude of doors and windows of all styles and bright colours, it invites visitors to reflect and raise questions on the notion of diversity. The work uses a pattern of unity, formed from multiplicity. Diversity is taken as a source of unity, in coherence with the collective process that gives birth to societies. 

During the same period, Torres’ solo exhibit Bûcher des vanités was presented at the Galerie d'art of the Maison des arts Desjardins in Drummondville. The body of works for this exhibition is made of assemblies emerging from seemingly simple manipulations that question the identity of the objects they use. They result in a loss of landmarks, playing on the confusion of the perception. This passage from the familiar to the strange is corollary to a reflection on the objects of our everyday surroundings. 

In July, Torres unveiled La cible at the Harbourside Park in St-John’s, Newfoundland. The public artwork, commissioned by Cadillac Canada to commemorate Canada’s 150thanniversary, is an interpretation of the accuracy of the clock movement and time itself. The creation is also a tribute to Sandford Fleming, a Scottish-Canadian engineer, who suggested the standard time zone system on an international level in 1879. 

Back in the Atlantic region and inspired by the sometimes opposing bounds between nature and culture, Torres has created In Nature on the façade of the building of the Rivière-des-Prairies public library in Montréal. Made mostly from wooden sticks painted in green, the work represents a structure that resembles the shape of a bed of grass. A hiding place and an observatory, a shelter and a nest, this transit space takes us back to universal needs of the human nature tied to the notions of safety, of tight wrap and habitat. 

Soon afterwards, the artist created and set up Démesure at the Maison de la culture de Pointe-aux-Trembles in Montréal. Playfully, with a touch of irony, this installation gathers an impressive number of colourful objects of our familiar surroundings. The work faces the visitor with the notions of expansion and excess. His polymorphous configuration, with its vivid colours, is quickly perceived by the public as attractive and playful. Yet, one can detect a more troubling aspect to it, as if it posed a potential threat. 

Later on, the work Constellation was presented by the artist within the temporary public art exhibition Métissage. This project designed for the promenade Fleuve-Montagne is part of the legacy of the city of Montréal’s 375th anniversary.  

“A visual configuration that speaks of our immediacy; of all the new communication platforms that allow us to keep in touch; of these so-called communicating pieces of content that we have become; and most certainly of exchanges, which smartphones allow us to operate as long as we navigate the signs of their systems. The figure is made of luminous boxes that represent communication icons such as emails, text messages or Messenger. The adopted configuration is a constellation of stars, another sign of a random trajectory that allows a certain gestalt, adopted to localise the earth, its orientation and its own trajectory around the sun.” Stéphane Bertrand, exhibition curator.  

Most of these works will remain accessible to the public in October and November 2017.