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Félix González-Torres (1957 - 1996)

Lot 73: Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996)


May 11, 2005
New York, NY, US

More About this Item


"Untitled" (9 Days of Bloodwork Steady Decline and False Hope)
signed, titled and dated (on the back of the first and ninth drawing)
nine elements--gouache and graphite on paper in artist's frame
frame: 17 3/4 x 13 3/4 in. (44.9 x 34.4 cm.)
sheet: 14 x 11 in. (37.9 x 27.6 cm.)
overall: variable with installation
Executed in 1993. This work is unique and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist. (9)

Artist or Maker

Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996)


Paris, Galerie Jennifer Flay, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Travel #1, October-December 1993.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, On the Edge: New Art from Private Collections in France, November 1998-January 1999.


D. Elger, Felix Gonzalez-Torres Catalogue Raisonné, Stuttgart 1997, p. 124, no. 243 (illustrated).


Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
Galerie Jennifer Flay, Paris
Thomas H. Bjarnason, Toronto
Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner


The grid, with its impersonal, neutral geometry, is the abstract symbol of logical impartiality, as well as the intellectual underpinning to most Minimalist painting and sculpture. One can hardly imagine art of the 1960s without the cool grids of Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, Carl Andre and Agnes Martin dominating the discussions of the day. But the grid is also central to the medical field as a standard of measure, as a way of making the patient abstract in the name of empirical accuracy and scientific diagnosis.
In the Bloodworks series by Felix Gonzalez Torres, each grouping of grids diagrammatically represents a day in a cycle of testing of the blood's T-Cell count, the primary indicator of a body's ability to fight the AIDS virus. Each day on the nine graphs shows a downward plunge in the form of a diagonal line from the upper-left corner to the bottom right. The simple grid and line represent the performance of a body, a body that is likely losing its immune system necessary to fight the virus. The personal and human realities are represented but not present, and incongruity Gonzalez-Torres found compelling enough to make this series.
"It was this that struck me when I first saw an extensive bloodwork done on Ross in the form of numbers and codes. I said to him, 'Honey, this is your blood. Right here. This is it.' There was not a drop of blood there. There wasn't anything red. And it was even more frightening because all the numbers could be easily reversed. It is a total abstraction; but it is the body. It is your life" (as quoted in Felix Gonzalez-Torres, New York, 1995, p. 167).
Perhaps Gonzalez Torres's most lasting artistic legacy is his ability to borrow from the cool forms of Modernist thinking and infuse them with personal meaning. The pleasure of the form gives way to concrete interpretation and the viewer's experience allows for both intellectual rigor and human emotion.

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