Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-96) is one of the most significant artists to have emerged in the 1980s. An artist whose beautiful, restrained and often mutable works are abundant in compelling contradictions, Gonzalez-Torres was committed to a democratic form of art informed as much by the aesthetic and conceptual as by politics. His work challenges authority and our obeisance to it, dissolves the delineations between public and private, and creates a rich, open field into which the viewer is invited to complete works with her own inferences, imagination, and actions.
The photostats are a series of fixed works with white text on black fields framed behind glass to create a reflective surface bringing the viewers' reflection into the work. Made at the height of the AIDS crisis, these profoundly suggestive lists of political, cultural, and historical references disrupt hierarchies of information and linear chronology, asking how we receive and prioritize information, how we remember and forget, and how we continuously create new meaning. The photostats also recall the screens (the television, and now the computer) which furiously deliver information from which we must parse substance from surface and choose what to assimilate and what to reject.
This elegant volume is a discrete space in which to closely read the photostats with sustained attention: it opens from both sides, reproducing the framed photostats as objects on one, and from the other, details of the texts can be read as writing. In between the two, original writings by Mónica de la Torre and Ann Lauterbach, explore adjacent territories, signaling the multiple entry points for understanding the works.