10 Jul

Some interesting and valuable excerpts from Soyeon Ahn’s interview with Andrea Rosen

Reading Feliz Gonzalez-Torres’ interview with Anrea Rosen, who was not only his assistant, but also a friend of him, I believe, helps us better understand Felix and his work. I purchased the exhibition ‘Felix Gonzalez-Torres-Double’ catalogue. Below are some excerpts of the interview with Andrea Rosen from the catalogue.

Soyeon Ahn:

Born in 1961, Soyeon Ahn is Chief Curator at PLATEAU. She graduated from Ewha Womans University of Seoul with a bachelor degree in French literature, and a master degree in Art History. She started her career as a curator at National Museum of Contemporary Art in 1986. She has been Chief Curator at Samsung Art Foundation since 1996. Some representative past exhibitions curated by Ahn are: ‘Joseph Beuys’ (National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea 1991), ‘Lee Bul’ (Rodin Gallery, Seoul 2002), ‘Mind Space’ (Ho Am Gallery, 2003), ‘MATTHEW BARNEY: DRAWING RESTRAINT’ (Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, 2005), and ‘Felix Gonzalez-Torres-Double’ (PLATEAU, 2012).

Andrea Rosen and Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation:

Andrea Rosen is a gallerist who had own gallery, Andrea Rosen Gallery, in Chelsea, New York. The gallery was inaugurated in January, 1990, with an exhibition of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. After, she established Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation in 2002 to promote and give perpetuity (breath) to Gonzalez-Torres’s artworks. The foundation is housed at Andrea Rosen Gallery. Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation not only sponsored many Gonzalez-Torres’s exhibitions worldwide, but also has provided positive aid to general public, scholars, and art-historians. They have archived all of his works and installation shots of nearly every exhibition in which Gonzalez-Torres’s work was included, exhibition catalogues, magazine and newspaper articles, and reviews. They also give guidance for installing, maintaining and de-installation of Gonzalez-Torres’s works, which can be refabricated, to the exhibition organizers.

Below: Excerpts from Soyeon Ahn’s Interview with Andrea Rosen

Soyen Ahn: Felix majored in photography and later also gave lectures. The concept of photography eradicating the aura of the unique artwork, challenging the authority of its owner and therefore bringing the artist significantly closer to the public, seems to be directly reflected in his installations.

Andrea Rosen: (……) For Felix, the core of his work is the idea that the only thing that is permanent is change. He believed that the only way to sustain a work’s significance is through the possibility of change- change of perception or physical change. The photographic works are an important foil for the physically malleable works and vice versa as they make us question each in contrast to one another.

About eradicating the aura of the uniqueness of the artwork: addressing our relationship to the unique versus the multiple object is an important subject for Felix. (……)

Our general questioning of the value of photographs as infinitely reproducible objects becomes interesting in Felix’s work. Because so many of the key unique works have the ease of being reproduced (e.g. paper stacks, candies, beaded curtains, billboards), there is almost a reversal in some way. What becomes more precious are the pure photographic works that cannot be remade. Felix was always interested in the extremes of one or the other, but rather in this flipping of ideas in order to inspire conscious thinking and questioning. Felix was less interested in the extremes of one and another, (……) he was more interested in us being willing to engage with the grey areas. (……)

S: In addition to specifying the details and conditions of the work, the certificates of authenticity play an important role in emphasizing the ‘flexible parameters of place and interpretation’, an idea that is not only unconventional but also selflessly generous. Please give us your accounts on realizing these certificates.

A: It was part of Felix’s intention that the certificates would also evolve over time. The certificates, while in many ways quite specific, us a particular language that very purposefully leaves room for interpretation. Felix was very clear about what the nature of the work was, but once of the most fascinating aspects about working on the certificates is the realization that ideas, and our ability to describe the nuances of those ideas, shift and grow over time. (……)

S: Although the ‘public’ function of art was a contentiously debated issue at the time, Felix diverged from outright activist approach to exploring this idea. Instead he developed a unique, more poetic way of exposing the reality where the public sphere evades the private. Would you agree that this perhaps relates to the billboards?

A: More important than the significance of the number of billboard locations is that works are really meant to be in ‘”real” public spaces, where everybody can see them. When you put something in a museum, people assume that they have to understand it the way museum understands it. Placed in public, everyone can have a right to experience and interpret it on their own terms. The billboards are not displayed with accompanying text, so nothing is forced or taught. Again, this relates to the responsibility of the individual to form an opinion.

 

 

from the ‘Felix Gonzalez-Torres-Double’ catalogue.

 

 

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