Felix Gonzalez-Torres Untitled Tim Hotel | David Zwirner
An artwork by Felix Gonzalez-Torres called "Untitled" (Tim Hotel), dated 1992.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres:
"Untitled" (Tim Hotel), 1992

 

Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957–1996) is one of the most significant artists to emerge in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In its reduced formal vocabulary, conceptual rigor, and evocative use of everyday materials, the artist’s work resonates with meaning that is at once specific and mutable, rigorous and generous, poetic and political.

“Untitled” (Tim Hotel) (1992) is one of twenty-two unique light string sculptures in the artist’s oeuvre. Imbued with meaning that is both personal and universal, each work is purposefully “Untitled”—as open and malleable as the physical form of the work. The parenthetical title of each light string may allude to Gonzalez-Torres’s own life and memories, while simultaneously inspiring unique recollections and associations of the individuals experiencing them. Among their many resonances, these works offer poignant meditations on the conditions of presence and absence, ephemerality and permanence. 

A light bulbs, extension cords, porcelain light sockets artwork by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, titled EXHIBITION COPY of a 42 bulb lightstring, n.d.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

"Untitled" (Tim Hotel), 1992
Light bulbs, porcelain light sockets, and electrical cord
Overall dimensions vary with installation

Like his works made using candy, beaded curtains, and stacks of paper, Gonzalez-Torres’s use of light strings exemplifies his interest in the poetic and expressive potential of commonplace materials. Gonzalez-Torres played with contradictions within and between different bodies of work in order to deepen the experiences and questions that an artwork may lead one toward. While we might often think of Gonzalez-Torres’s works as endless—the light strings do have the potential to change form with each installation—the light strings can be installed in only one place at a time. 

An artwork by Felix Gonzalez-Torres called "Untitled" (Tim Hotel), dated 1992.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Tim Hotel), 1992

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Tim Hotel), 1992

An artwork by Felix Gonzalez-Torres called "Untitled" (Tim Hotel), dated 1992.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Tim Hotel), 1992 (detail)

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Tim Hotel), 1992 (detail)

“I leave those decisions for others to perform. I don’t decide how the strings of lights are installed.”

 

—Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in an interview with Tim Rollins, in Felix Gonzalez-Torres, 1993

An artwork by Felix Gonzalez-Torres called "Untitled" (Tim Hotel), dated 1992.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Tim Hotel), 1992  (detail)

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Tim Hotel), 1992  (detail)

The light string sculptures can be strung across a ceiling or pooled on the floor, among myriad other possibilities, allowing for owners and exhibitors to participate in the history and evolution of the works through discrete choices regarding site, configuration, and context for each installation. 

Related unique light string works are included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago (long-term loan); Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo; Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, Switzerland; Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Maryland; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (long-term loan); and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others. 

People looking at an artwork by Felix Gonzalez-Torres called "Untitled" (Tim Hotel), dated 1992.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Tim Hotel), 1992. Installed in Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA, Apr 1–May 29, 2004. Photo by Meghan Lewis. © Estate of Felix Gonzalez-Torres / Courtesy Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Tim Hotel), 1992. Installed in Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA, Apr 1–May 29, 2004. Photo by Meghan Lewis. © Estate of Felix Gonzalez-Torres / Courtesy Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation

I needed light at that time. I needed optimism.


—Felix Gonzalez-Torres, from “Untitled (a talk),” a lecture given at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, March 23, 1995

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