Lot 5
  • 5

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Estimate
400,000 - 600,000 USD
Sold
1,025,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Felix Gonzalez-Torres
  • "Untitled" (March 5th) #2
  • light bulbs, porcelain light sockets, extension cords

Provenance

Gift of the artist to his sister, the present owner, in 1991

Exhibited

Brussels, Galerie Xavier Hufkens, Félix González-Torres, Michael Jenkins, March – April 1991 (another example)
Glens Falls, The Hyde Collection, Just what is it that makes today’s home so different, so appealing?, September – November 1991 (another example, checklist)
Tokyo, Wacoal Art Center, Three or More - A Multiple Exhibition, October 1992 (another example)
Glasgow, Tramway, Read My Lips: New York AIDS Polemics, October – December 1992 (another example)
Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution (second venue of a travelling exhibition), Felix Gonzalez-Torres,  June – September 1994 (another example)
New York, Fischbach Gallery, Absence, Activisim and the Body Politic, June 1994 (another example)
New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Santiago de Compostela, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea; Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, March 1995 – June 1996 (another example), p. 182 (text) [subtitled  (A Possible Landscape) in Santiago de Compostela and (Girlfriend in a Coma) in Paris]
New York, Greene Naftali Gallery, Broken Home, May – June 1997 (another example)
Barcelona, Fundació Joan Miró, Lux/Lumen, June – September 1997, p. 34, illustrated in color (another example), pp. 35, 70 and 85 (text)
Hannover, Sprengel Museum in Hannover; St. Gallen, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen; Vienna, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, June – November 1997 and September – November 1998 (another example)
Harrisburg, Susquehanna Art Museum, I’m Not Here: Constructing Identity at the Turn of the Century, December 1999 – February 2000, illustrated in color on the poster and the postcard (another example)
St. Gallen, Sammlung Hauser und Wirth, The Oldest Possible Memory, May – October 2000, p. 81, illustrated (another example)
Albuquerque, National Hispanic Cultural Center of New Mexico, La Luz: Contemporary Latino Art in the United States, October 2000 – May 2001, illustrated in color on the cover (another example)
Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art, Gonzalez-Torres/Joseph Beuys, February – May 2001 (another example)
New York, Lehmann Maupin, L’Art Vivre, April – May 2005 (another example)
Waltham, The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Broken Home, January – April 2008 (another example)
Kansas City, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Sparks! The William T. Kemper Collecting Initiative, May – July 2008, pp. 7 and 81, illustrated (another example) and p. 80 (text)
Clermont-Ferrand, L’Espace d’Art Contemporain La Tôlerie, La Foule (Zéro – Infini) : Chapitre 1 (unite – dualité – la meute – la masse), May – July 2008 and Chapitre 2 (chaos – contrôle), October – November 2008 (another example), p. 15 (text)
Paris, Passage du Retz; Israel, Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Insomniac Promenades: Dreaming/Sleeping in Contemporary Art, July 2008 – July 2009 (another example)
Brussels, Wiels; Riehen/Basel, Fondation Beyeler; Frankfurt, MMK Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Specific Objects without Specific Form, January 2010 – April 2011 (another example)
Miami, Miami Art Museum, Between Here and There: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Permanent Collection, February  2010 - April 2013 (another example)
Mexico City, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Somewhere/Nowhere, February – May 2010 (another example), p. 64 (text)
New York, Pace Gallery, Burning Bright: A Short History of the Lightbulb, October – November 2011 (another example)
Basel, Kunstmuseum Basel, Museum für Gegenwartskunst; Lisbon, Culturgest, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, February – September 2013 (another example)
Paris, La Galerie des Galeries, In a Sentimental Mood, May - August 2013, p. 22, illustrated (another example) and p. 8 (text)

Literature

Exh. Cat., Mexico City, Ninart Centro de Cultura, 15 Artistas Cubanos, 1991, p. 36, illustrated
Exh. Cat., Munich, Sammlung Goetz, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Roni Horn, 1995, pp. 12 and 20 (text)
Christopher Chapman, “Personal Effects: On Aspects of Work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres,” BROADsheet, Spring 1996, p. 16 (text)
Exh. Cat., Rochechouart, Musée Departmental d’Art Contemporain de Rochechouart, Propositions, 1996, pp. 10 and 84 (text)
Dietmar Elger, et al., ed., Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Catalogue Raisonné, Ostfildern-Ruit, 1997, cat. no. 118, p. 69, illustrated
Exh. Cat., Montevideo, Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, 2000, p. 10 (text)
Exh. Cat., Salamanca, Centro de arte de Salamanca, Comer o no Comer, 2002, p.  47, illustrated
Julie Ault, ed. Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Göttingen, 2006, p. 89, illustrated in color (in installation at the home of Myriam and Jacques Salomon, Paris, 2004), p. 360, illustrated in color (in installation at the Fundació Joan Miró, 1997) and p. 373 (text)
Exh. Cat., Berlin, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, 2006, p. 164 (text)
Exh. Cat., Mexico City, Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte, Las Implicaciones de la Imagen, 2008, p. 193, illustrated
Exh. Cat., Virginia Beach, Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Transformed, 2008, p. 9 (text)
Exh. Cat., Copenhagen, Statens Museum for Kunst, Reality Check, 2008, p. 90 (text)
Dawn Ades, Tate Latin American Acquisitions Committee: Celebrating 10 Years, New York, 2011, p. 35 (text)
Exh. Cat., Chicago, Art Institute  of Chicago, Contemporary Collecting: The Judith Neisser Collection: Minimal and Postminimal Innovation,  2011, p. 59, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Suspended from their individual cords, two unadorned light bulbs become one incandescent mass of energy in Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ profoundly important "Untitled" (March 5th) #2. Executed in 1991, this work represents Gonzalez-Torres’ first use of light bulbs, and preceded his series of  24 "light strings" created from 1992 to 1994/1995, altogether creating a corpus of intensely beautiful and significant conceptual works that have become synonymous with the artist’s oeuvre. Upon its completion, the present work was given directly by the artist to his sister, who remains the present owner, thereby investing this sculpture with a particularly special provenance that reflects its prominence. Radical, unexpected and brilliant, this work is simultaneously empirical and ethereal, simple and complex, permanent and transient. "Untitled" (March 5th) #2 is exemplary amongst the artist’s output as a powerful meditation on endless love, unity, mortality and loss.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ work strikes a delicate balance between conveying the artist’s own deeply personal narrative and addressing universal themes of profound import. 1991 was the year in which the artist’s beloved companion, Ross Laycock, died, and his presence is evoked in this work through the subtitle, March 5th, the date of his birthday. Speaking specifically about this piece, the artist said, “When I first made those two lightbulbs, I was in a total state of fear about losing my dialogue with Ross, of being just one.” (Exh. Cat., New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (and travelling), Felix Gonzalez-Torres, March - May 1995, p. 183) In response to an emotion that can  occupy, at one time or another, all loving bonds between two people, the artist initiated a brilliant compositional act wherein the two bulbs hang intertwined, indicating an aura of inseparable union. As with the best examples of Gonzalez-Torres’ conceptual project, however, interpretations of this work are not restricted to a singular or definitive narrative. Instead, the artist deliberately allows for expansive readings of “Untitled” (March 5th) #2, encouraging his viewer to think and feel freely through their experience of its elegant simplicity. 

The artist’s relationship with Ross, their deep love and connection followed by loss and mourning, has come to define his inimitable corpus. Through works that invite thoughtful and emotional contemplation, Gonzalez-Torres chronicles his most personal experiences and feelings in a manner that inspires a visceral and equally personal response. Opening themselves up to the viewer, the greatest examples of the artist’s work encourage us to participate in them physically, whether it be using the light pieces for practical illumination or taking a piece of candy off of a pile on the floor. Accordingly, Gonzalez-Torres envelops us into his unique artistic dialogue, persuading us to come to terms with our own fears, hopes, and emotions. "Untitled" (March 5th) #2 is stunning in its simplicity of form, yet replete with poignantly complex contradictions. While it conveys an undeniable undercurrent of mortality, however, the present work’s austere and striking beauty communicates an affirmative message of unending, and ceaselessly ardent, love and hope that is the essence of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ extraordinary oeuvre.

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