Untitled (Bed) (1991)
Félix Gonzalez-Torres was born in 1957 and died in 1996. He used a very wide range of materials for his exhibitions and installations he also deployed minimalism in his photographic work. I have chosen to look at Untitled (Bed), 1991. This photograph represents the emptiness that can experienced after losing a partner though death (from AIDS), a homosexual man, the stigma that he would have felt imposed upon him by the public scrutiny. The judgement of him as a victim of HIV (at the time opinions were formed though ignorance, the belief that it was gay men spreading this epidemic). This would have been an intensely intimidating feeling caused by the social injustice of the time, but it has inspired him to commission this melancholic and vacated bed. He wanted to be empowered to show his side of the story, the horrific HIV/AIDS epidemic and use his rights of freedom of expression, to gain social justice (with a multitude of others) but there was also many interpretations of the meaning of his work. The work to me is thought provoking, illustrating the empathy required to accept the mental loss and thus accepting the grief that follows. The tendency to treasure the belongings of that person and so displaying the bed as if recently vacated shows an indication of attachment to the memory of the loved one.
I admire the creativity of this work; I can draw parallels in some respects to the sense of loss, by having lymphoma. I would like to highlight a similar retrospect determined by loss, the intrinsic self-empathy required and the perceptions of others. I would also like to juxtapose the sense of questioning, the mind’s processes and the way the world operates; I strive not to have a sense of entitlement, which makes you far more appreciative of life. I would like to make a bed in my exhibition where I use transfer prints, projections and variety of materials to depict many of my symptoms, whilst having lymphoma. This work helped me to feel a sense of freedom, empowering me to want to tell my story, therefore, enabling me help increase awareness, understanding, emphasis. Félix González-Torres’ work symbolizes the delicate beauty of emptiness, I would like my work to represent this quality, as it is a feeling I experienced during this journey. The glorious mundanely of the white sheets has an essence of clinical emptiness, which is why I feel that I would benefit from to use of white sheets to print my photographs on. It will be a contrast to the darkness of the background in my photographs, as it will help make the photographs look fierce, vivid and intense. It shall be harsh to the eyes, ultimately stealing attention.
Contracting justice: the viral strategy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres http://go.galegroup.com.ucreative.idm.oclc.org/ps/i.do?p=AONE&u=ucca&id=GALE|A241280248&v=2.1&it=r&sid=summon&userGroup=ucca&authCount=1