Thursday, 17 October 2013

Candy: Felix Gonzalez-Torres | Damien Hirst

Whilst in London yesterday, my boss and I were on route to another meeting, then suddenly I noticed the word Candy in large orange text! After peering through the windows and Googling to see if we could go in, we entered with great interest to know more! 

The show was an exhibition of Damien Hirst's early Visual Candy paintings (1993 to 1993), along with the work of Gonzalez-Torres' work made up of various coloured candies (1990 to 1993). Apparently this is the first time poth had been presented together, it's also Gonzalez-Torres' first two-person show in London. 

'While ostensibly abstract, the paintings in fact depict medicinal pills, and can be seen as a stylised depiction of the psychological effects of happy, mood-enhancing drugs. Hirst once described how, ‘in every painting there is a subliminal sense of unease... the colours project so much joy it’s hard to feel it, but it’s there. The horror underlying everything.’ In this context, the Visual Candy paintings, despite their surface optimism, possess a disquieting undercurrent of tension and darkness – born from an awareness of the inevitable low that follows any high.' -

'The viewer is invited to actively participate, freely choosing whether to touch, take or consume the candy, engaging in a vibrant and multisensory experience. These sweets may be replenished regularly by gallery staff, creating a dynamic and varied ebb and flow. The volume and form of the work is thus altered throughout each day, continual change becoming the only element of permanence that defines the ‘life’ of the work.

Gonzalez-Torres once described how the candy spills were about learning to ‘let go’, a ‘refusal to make a static form [or] monolithic sculpture, in favour of a disappearing, changing, unstable and fragile form.’ Indeed, the candy spills imply that change enables the means for our continued existence; that life itself is in a permanent state of flux. Linear time collapses, as past, present and future coexist within these works, which have the possibility to be continually replenished or to simply disappear; the expansiveness of any moment, beyond the physical, is suggested.' -

It's interesting because even though we could take candy from anywhere, I felt along with others that the best and most polite place to take was from the pile in the corner. Effort had gone into creating the perfect circle and line, it almost felt disrespectful to remove any from there. 

They tasted nice and they made me happy on the train ride home :)

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