Felix Gonzalez-Torres (American, born Cuba, 1957–1996)
Instant black-and-white print
2 13/16 x 2 11/16 in. (7.2 x 6.9 cm)
Purchase, Anonymous Gift, 1997 (1996.575)
© The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, Courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
Felix Gonzalez-Torres first came to prominence in the early 1990s with his interactive site-specific installations of candy stacks and printed paper. These "antimonuments" parody the coldness and rigor of Minimalist sculpture, while actively encouraging participation by the audience. This early work exemplifies his unique blending of personal and political concerns. In his use of the intimate casual-snapshot aesthetic, the artist conveys the sense of rootlessness and exile that he must have experienced in America after fleeing his native Cuba. He also discovers a symbolic, almost Romantic conception of the soul yearning for the Infinite (represented by the seascape), while imprisoned by the agonies of earthly existence symbolized by the razor-thin barbed wire that blocks our passage.