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WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre opens an exhibition of works by Mario García Torres
Mario García Torres, Sounds Like Isolation to Me, z.d. Multimedia-installatie (detail). Collectie Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Wenen. Photo: Jens Ziehe.

BRUSSELS.- Illusion Brought Me Here maps out the elusive body of work of Mexican artist Mario García Torres for the first time in Europe. Accompanied by a specially-composed retrospective sound piece, titled Silence’s Wearing Thin Here (n.d.), the exhibition at WIELS sets out to explore the ways García Torres has revisited the legacies of conceptual art through the pursuit of secret projects and rumored events over the past twenty years, and how he has used a wide range of sound and music, from classical avant-garde to hard rock.

García Torres adopts various media, from sound to video, installation to painting, sculpture to drawing. His early use of slideshows and 16mm film allowed him to consider the subjective nature of memory and historical records (What Happens in Halifax Stays in Halifax (In 36 Slides), 2004–2006 and One Minute to Act a Title: Kim Jong-il’s Favorite Movies, 2005). Setting up a dialogue with the museum and its codes, the exhibition also features a large series of paintings, never shown before, that wittily deciphers the captions of artworks (This Is a Caption Lesson, 2009), as well as an homage to Marcel Broodthaers’ fictive museum through the reactivation of its phone number (Département de Distribution du Musée d’Art Moderne, Section Téléphonique, 2009).

A few years ago, García Torres stopped dating works altogether, in a move that undermines the convention that says that we have to place an oeuvre on a chronological line. At the same time, the artist has grown more elaborate in mixing archival document and artistic intervention, most remarkably in his signature “museographic essay” dedicated to the radical composer Conlon Nancarrow (Sounds Like Isolation to Me, n.d.), an animation that imagines the artist Mario Merz dancing at a bar during Documenta 5 (Merz, Rzemmmm, Zeeeeerm, Emrzzzzzz (At Fibonacci Pace), n.d.), and a new video essay that unravels a string of meaningful coincidences surrounding the band Van Halen and their hit song “Jump” (Falling Together in Time, n.d.).

The exhibition, curated by Caroline Dumalin, is organized in collaboration with the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Kunstenfestivaldesarts; and les ateliers claus, Brussels. With the support of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna; Jean-Edouard van Praet d’Amerloo; and Vidi-Square.

It is accompanied by the first publication to map out Mario García Torres’s extensive body of work. Richly illustrated, Illusion Brought Me Here features newly commissioned essays by Sophie Berrebi, Julia Bryan-Wilson, Rulo David, Vincenzo de Bellis, Caroline Dumalin, and Tom McDonough. Published by WIELS, the Walker Art Center, and Koenig Books, London. Designed by Daniel Castrejon. With the support of the artist’s galleries: Jan Mot, Brussels; joségarcía ,mx, Mexico City; Taka Ishii, Tokyo; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; and Galleria Franco Noero, Turin.

Mario García Torres (b. 1975, Monclova, Mexico) lives and works in Mexico City. Over the past twenty years, his work has questioned the stability of such concepts as time, memory, image, and the very essence of the artist’s role in society. An artist deeply interested in uncertainty and counter-narratives, his work blurs the space between fact and fiction through research and a wide range of storytelling strategies. His recent solo exhibitions include Caminar juntos, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2016); An Arrival Tale, TBA21, Vienna (2016); Mario García Torres, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); Until It Makes Sense, Project Arts Centre, Dublin (2013); ¿Alguna vez has visto la nieve caer?, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2010). He has also participated in Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017); Manifesta 11, Zurich (2016); Berlin Biennale 8 (2014); Bienal do Mercosul 9 (2013); and Documenta 13 (2012).

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