Francesc Torres. The Dragon's Head

4 february, 1991 - 7 april, 1991 /
Sabatini Building, Floor 4

The retrospective exhibition Francesc Torres. The Dragon's Head offers a tour of the twenty years that make up Francesc Torres’ career (Barcelona, 1948). The exhibition brings together works the majority of which have never been exhibited in Spain, composed of works produced primarily in the United States, except the Fifty Rains (1990-1991) project which was created expressly for this occasion.

Torres has positioned himself as an artist coming from political activism after his stay in Paris, where he witnessed the social and cultural upheavals of May '68. Linked to the collective Grup of Treball and a prominent member of the Catalan conceptual art movement of the early Seventies, he immediately recognised the impossibility (and paradox) of conducting committed art based on an outdated representation system and the traditional resources and support given to artists.

During these two decades, Francesc Torres’ work was built on two axes: the first goes from video use to multimedia installation, as in the case of I'm Looking at You from Behind (1974) to Dromos Indiana (1989). It is a process where technology and new media play an increasingly greater role in supporting his works, with the objective of making his strategies more complex.

The second axis refers to issues that he is occupied with. Next to the "envoltorio formal" - which derives from his inclusion in the American art world - the contents have shifted from exploration of interactions of the artists’ self with the public, space and time; turning his body into a prop for his performances, videos and photos, such as Perpectual Analysis of the three Dimensions (1973), Image's Identity (1974), An Attempt to Decondition Myself (1974); up to the assumption of history, memory and current culture as an argument and engine of his installations. In this sense, recovery through the use of visual archives and documentaries, in particular on the history of Spain, the emphasis on the imagery of war and the purpose of demonstrating the mechanisms by which the political institutions of power and State control civil society and public media, have emerged as his main themes, whose projects are voluntarily critical and ideological such as in the cases of: Field Action (1982), Toys Get Damaged, An (a) Historical Diorama (1986) Belchite-South Bronx: A Trans-cultural and Trans-historical Landscape (1988) or Plus Ultra (1988).

The scope which can describe his work stems from an experimentational art to reach, twenty years later, an art that is critical and politically and culturally committed, while based on conceptual and process art, arriving at the idea of art as a project. John G. Hanhardt, curator of the exhibition, said that his performances and installations are "laboratories and places of reflection" where the artist offers something to the public, requiring a participatory role, subjecting conventions of perception, culture or history to crisis; putting emphasis on the power of the image.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
John Harnhardt