oil on canvas
Mario Garcia Torres – sin titulo
Mexico City–based Mario García Torres’ latest collection of paintings, showcased at joségarcía ,mx as part of Mexico City Art Week 2020, is a testament to García Torres' practice, where he reflects on his process throughout different stages of his career.
Best known for his engaging cinematic narratives that explore and reveal the history of conceptual art. García Torres researches evidence, myths, and uses diverse media—including photography, film, performance, and written documentation—to reprise or respond to past works of other artists. As he explains, “my work doesn’t really become a remake of the conceptual story but more like a second rehearsal.”
In Pinturas recientes however, he turns this process inwards, reevaluates his own body of work, his methods, his collaborations, and those that never were. An exercise of introspection and self-examination, perhaps, one piece is titled Mid-Career, after all.
The acrylic and wax paintings on linen in fluorescent tones of pink, orange and yellow are not like anything García Torres has created before: “Nothing like Mario” a common remark uttered by those who are familiar with his work. Followed by the surprise of the artist having dated his work, rather than adding the mysterious nd., that usually follows the often playful titles. Furthermore, all pieces are marked in full view with the artists’ studio address stamp, additionally anchoring the pieces down in their temporal and spatial significance.
Some of the work references projects featured in the retrospective Illusion Brought Me Here, presented at the Walker Art Center in 2018/19. Take Hortensias para Berna, 2011-2020, revealing two, according to the artists, hastily drawn Hydrangeas. The hint is in the title and in the object: One is reminded of García Torres’ subversive piece Cover Letter (2011). In a series of slides, he portrays himself arranging a bouquet of Hydrangeas, all the while a subtitled message conveys his job application to the Kunsthalle Bern, which at the time was looking for a new museum director.
Mid-Career, 2018-2020 featuring a blossoming flower, echos Carta abierta a Hermenegildo Bustors (Open Letter to Hermenegildo Bustos). In the video about the effects of time in works of art, the artist filmed a still-life in his studio for a few weeks. As with Cover Letter the footage is accompanied by subtitles that narrate a letter addressed to the late Mexican painter Hermenegildo Bustos (1832-1907). In it, García Torres questions the altered ways in which the initial meaning of a work is used after its making, while we see the still-life go from vibrant and colorful to shriveled and rotten. In Mid-Career, 2018-2020 Mario García Torres reevaluates the effects of time again: a flower in full bloom, fixated in paint and sealed with wax, as well as stamped and dated. And therefore permanent.