Francesc Torres. The Hermetic Bell

10 March - 11 September 2018

MACBA, Barcelona.

 

In relation to contemporary artistic practices, the work of Francesc Torres (Barcelona, 1948) lays halfway between the proposals of those artists who, in the mid-sixties, were in favour of institutional critique and those who, during the eighties, refused to be part of the art market by making work that was only viable within a museum space. Torres was a pioneer of multimedia installations at a time when Neo-Expressionism was the dominant trend. His installations are a critical reflection on power, politics, violence, memory and contemporary culture. 

 

(A) Mexican mask from Chiapas

(B) Toy 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

(C) Dented door from a Barcelona taxi 

(D) Italian ‘Breda’ hand grenade

The Wunderkammer or cabinets of curiosities were a phenomenon that emerged in the sixteenth century as collections of antiquities and artistic objects, but also exceptional objects such as fossils, coral, exotic oddities, weapons, armillary spheres, etc. These were artefacts that reflected the economic clout and academic knowledge of their owners. In time, they became ‘time capsules’ of the moment at which they had been created. The principle of more or less systematic accumulation of that period brings us to Torres’ The Hermetic Bell: a sui generis Wunderkammer that is also an accumulation of layers of sediment, an archaeological site, a warehouse, an archive, a brain. In fact, Torres speaks of the archaeological campaign he has conducted, with the complicity of MACBA, to rescue from his archive – and memory – all those objects and documents he has preserved for years, rigorously ordained, unedited. In opening the boxes and files of his personal archive, the artist has discovered, to his surprise, the history of all the subjects he has been addressing and unfolding in his artistic production to this day. 

The symbolic potential and the capacity for creating an abstract way of thinking of most of the objects, toys and images that the visitor will find in this ‘hermetic bell’ are responsible for the most critical, sharp and intelligent creations of Torres’ artistic career.

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