Life is Beautiful
Viewing the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’, the audience is informed about gay sexuality, reflection of the AIDS crisis of the 1980’s and 1990’s, vulnerability, loss, death and distribution of information. These complicated and impactful subjects continue to have a direct effect on me. Being a child of the Margaret Thatcher and Tory Government of the 1980’s and 1990’s I later found that the political atmosphere and polices implemented by the Conservative Party governed my education, my family economics and my welfare that actively discouraged my relationship and place within the world.
This hostile environment was shielded by my interest in art, especially Monochrome and Conceptual Art. Gonzalez-Torres’ work resonates throughout my work for its presence of reflection, relationship of the personal and shared and with the many pairings within Gonzalez-Torres’ work (pairings frequently appear in my work as the youngest of a twin I sees this as unsurprising).
Life is Beautiful, 2018, is taken from an exhibition of the same title that was held at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne circa 2002. Gonzalez-Torres’ Untitled (Placebo), 1991, is a mass of sweets on the floor, the audience are welcome to take a sweet or two, I took several of these sweets, once eaten, I smoothed out the wrappers keeping them as a keepsake. in 2013, I saw the same work in a different exhibition and again kept the sweet wrappers. However, on the second occasion, the wrappers were brittle and easily broken. The manufactures of the work had changed, and in my view so had the work; no longer we’re the actions of open the wrappers easy, they became delicate and a bitter action of destroying and breaking the protective layer for a gift beneath.
These appropriated silver wrapper keepsakes are precious to me as I believe that these monochrome objects resonates how progress that has been battled and strived for could easily be taken away.