Looking at Felix Gonzalez-Torres' body of work, it becomes clear that there are a number of pieces that are uncanny harbingers of the current tumultuous times. As is the purpose and nature of Gonzalez-Torres' work, not only does it create an opportunity to perpetually reevaluate meaning, the work evolves to take on layers as the world impacts on the work. Recent global events allow these works to be reread in the light of an ongoing historical framework.
The core of this project involves a simultaneous exhibition of the same works – one exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ in London from March 20th to April 20th and one at Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, from March 30th to May 4th. The shows bring together a selection of Gonzalez-Torres' work, dating from 1986 to 1992, that is extremely pertinent to the time, highlighting how the ideology of Gonzalez-Torres' work persists and sustains itself in different contexts. This exhibition also underscores the need for a vital political discourse in our current artistic climate. Pieces such as the untitled stack piece from 1990 with newspaper clippings on both sides referring to germ warfare and the Pentagon's assurance that we are not at risk (catalogue raisonné #82), the C-print jigsaw puzzle piece "Untitled" (I Love NY), a rephotographed newspaper image of a soldier's hand on which he has written "Hi I ♥ NY" (catalogue raisonné #177), and the 1992 billboard "Untitled" (It's Just a Matter of Time) (catalogue raisonné #190) will be exhibited at both spaces, along with earlier framed works which specifically allude to the current events.
Having two venues emphasizes a number of the main concepts of Gonzalez-Torres' work. That it is possible for the works to exist in more than one place at one time; that the uniqueness of the work is not defined by its pure physicality but by its concept, choice of installation and its ownership; and how interpretation is not necessarily consistent but shifts with location, pointing out the freedom and need for a non-homogenous point of view.
The exhibition and its intention will be extended beyond England and America with a worldwide installation of the billboard, "Untitled" (It's Just a Matter of Time). This billboard was originally exhibited in 1992 in Hamburg in conjunction with an exhibition organized by the Kunstverein in Hamburg titled "Gegendarstellung - Ethics/Aesthetics in Times of AIDS". It consists of a black background with white German text in Gothic typeface. For our project the piece will be translated into the language of the country in which it is situated, remaining in Roman alphabet in the distinct Gothic typeface always inevitably linked to German history. The parameters of Gonzalez-Torres' billboard works is that when exhibited they must be installed in a minimum of six outdoor locations. This has generally been interpreted as locations in the city of the venue. As a reflection of the impact September 11 has had on the whole world, and how it illuminates how each country's politics affect others, we have orchestrated the installation of this work on a global sight. In each location the work will potentially have an extremely varied resonance and its interpretation will be both universally bonding as well as contradictory. With the support of various institutions and individuals, one billboard will be exhibited in each country including, among others, Colombia, India, Japan, Canada, and a number of European countries, east and west.