Exhibitions / 05 July - 17 August 2013


Show Time: 11.00am - 8.00pm
Mario Garcia Torres
Curated by Tessa Giblin
Until It Makes Sense is an extraordinary encounter with the work of Mario García Torres. This new exhibition for Project Arts Centre will present an expansive range of artworks by Garcia Torres, evolving and developing through the course of the exhibition to create four individually distinct episodes. The work exhibited will include moving image, interactive installation, photography and sculpture.

Between 5 July and 17 August, an exhibition of Mario García Torres’ work titled Until It Makes Sense will unfold in the gallery of Project Arts Centre.
Thought of as a number of episodes, this dynamic revolving project will generate a series of exhibitions. Each chapter will focus on a distinctive element of the artist’s practice, repeating and recombining artworks made by Mario García Torres during the past ten years, staging the exhibition along a dramatic arc.
Beginning with an opening sequence which introduces the sincerity of the practice through gestural forms, the episodes move from a focus on the museum, through a grouping of works exploding the autonomy of the individual, to a quiet but meaningful finale – the artist as labourer towards meaning.
Mario García Torres is an artist firmly planted in the historical garden of conceptual art. His body of work is varied: consisting of both forensically researched artworks which root about in the evidence, myth and remains of conceptual art works, and of simple and sincere gestures that cultivate an equally complex experience of art through their suggestion, potentiality and perhaps even hope.
Underlying the entire exhibition and present throughout all four episodes is 2004’s Until it Makes Sense which will be hand-animated in the gallery on a daily basis, etching into the walls a repetitive, purposeful mantra. Many of the artworks in the exhibition will also embrace the question of self-transformation, by appearing (or re-appearing) in a new form developed specifically for this exhibition in Dublin.
Episode 1: 04 July – 13 July
Episode 2: 15 July – 27 July
Episode 3: 29 July – 10 Aug
Episode 4: 12 Aug – 17 Aug
Episode 1
Imagine passing through an entrance littered with karaoke versions of John Baldessari’s rendition of Sol LeWitt’s Sentences On Conceptual Art, then into our opening episode that does just that – it introduces the practice of Mario Garcia Torres with a neon sculpture Open we’ll see again a little later on (opened). Alongside it, Time to Piece takes images of Dublin’s most recognisable public clocks, breaking them into tiny, interlocking fragments that are ready to be put back together. As you labour to link a piece of the puzzle, Il aurait bien pu le promettre aussi projects a series of black and white images of a confined office. The frame shifts in and out of this (now potentially obsolete) room in a Japanese lab where subtitles were inserted onto film, an activity that held translation as its primary objective, and through which meaning is altered, twisted or complicated. A soundscape here takes the place of the absent subtitles, triggering memory and reflection and implying drama in relation to the images progressing in front of the viewer. Against this backdrop of labour, the passage of time and sculptural transformation stands Cover Letter, the job application made by Garcia Torres in response to Kunsthalle Bern’s open call for an Artistic Director. A humorous response to a feasible notion, the Artist as Museum Director posits questions in relation to expertise, network, and the co-opting of conceptual art concerns as curatorial practice, while at the same time creating a classical still life in the most recognisable medium of Mario Garcia Torres’ practice – subtitled 35mm slide projection.
Episode 2
These artworks are in dialogue with the museum – an institution that provides much of the context for Mario Garcia Torres’ actions, reactions and reflections in general. While reflecting on Martin Kippenberger’s project to create the Museum of Modern Art Syros on a small Greek Island in What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, Garcia Torres investigates the status of an historical immaterial artwork in What Happens in Halifax Stays in Halifax (In 36 Slides), and traces the abduction of an historical artwork as a political gesture, followed by a reunion between activist and artwork, in The Variable Dimensions of Art. Transformed at Project Arts Centre into a panoramic print and accompanying booklet, The Variable Dimensions of Art becomes a museum diorama within a gallery context, multiplying the layers of reference and refraction that are riddled throughout the artworks as they tell stories, evoke histories, and peel back the at times subversive skin, of contemporary art.
Episode 3
Originally produced as a lecture series performance at Frieze Art Fair 2007, I Am Not a Flopper… shifts us into a new territory for Episode 3, one more involved with the complications of authorship, autonomy and self-embodied narratives. I Am Not a Flopper… features film director Allen Smithee in a 40 min-long marathon lecture-performance, which cuts through layers of self-representation and surrogacy, discussing through the wide-ranging lecture an obscured history of film production, that features failure as a constant friend. Pitched against this virtuoso performance is another form of surrogacy – the sculpture that embodies the artist in Sometimes the World is Heavier than an Artist’s Breath. Alone in the room (with Until it Makes Sense as a silent witness to their encounter) these two works become both actor and audience for each other. Both struggle against their context – the vulnerable sculpture against its environment and the actor against his character.
Episode 4
The final episode does not have a cliff-hanger ending nor a heart-stopping conclusion – it is more so a return to the focus on gesture with which we opened, and sees the reappearance of Il aurait bien pu le promettre aussi and Open – albeit in a significantly altered form. Alongside these works, July 2013 will project the scratches and wear that have accumulated in the artist’s pocket throughout the previous 3 episodes, as well as revealing an accumulation of letters that the artist has been writing to himself. I Promise… are vows that he has been making as he sits at a desk in yet another hotel room, reflecting on what he has done as an artist, and pledging to give the best of himself in years to come. We might at this moment also recognise the tune being whistled in Il aurait bien pu le promettre aussi – it sounds a lot like the tune you remember from passing through the entrance, which when you listen again you realise has a tender affinity with the hotel letters.
Until it Makes Sense is the title of one of Mario García Torres’ earliest works, and this whole, expanded exhibition. It is also a quiet answer to a nagging question.
List of Works:
Episode 1
5 July – 13 July

Open, 2004-2013
Il aurait bien pu le promettre aussi, 2009-2013
35mm slides transferred to video, sound, 6’ 20’’
Until It Makes Sense, 2004-2013
Graphite on wall
Episode 2
15 July – 27 July

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, 2007-2013
35mm slides transferred to video, 9’ 28’’
What Happens in Halifax Stays in Halifax (In 36 Slides), 2004-2013
35mm slides transferred to video, 8’ 53’’
Cover Letter, 2011-13
35mm slides transferred to video, 2’ 17’’
The Variable Dimensions of Art, 2010-2013
Archival pigment print onto self-adhesive wallpaper, 6m x 4m, booklet
Museo de Arte, Sacremento, 2013 – ongoing
Variable dimensions, mixed media
Until It Makes Sense, 2004-2013
Graphite on wall
Episode 3
29 July – 10 Aug

I Am Not a Flopper…, 2007
Video, 35’ 42’’
Sometimes The World is Heavier than an Artist’s Breath, 2008
Latex balloon, helium, string

Until It Makes Sense
, 2004-2013
Graphite on wall
Episode 4
12 Aug – 17 Aug

I Promise…, 2004 – ongoing
Ink on paper, dimensions variable
July 2013 (Pocket Scratch), 2007-13
Black and white negative film, slide mount
Open, 2004-2013
Il aurait bien pu le promettre aussi, 2009-2013
35mm slides transferred to video, sound, 6’ 20’’
Until It Makes Sense, 2004-2013
Graphite on wall
Foyer, throughout

Sing Like Baldessari, 2004
Video, colour and sound, 14’

I promise
, (in collaboration with Mario Lopez Landa)
Music, 5’ 37’’
Time to Piece, 2011-2013
Jigsaw puzzles
Title Working, 2004
Intervention on list of works, dimensions variable
Département de Distribution du Musée d’Art Moderne, Section Téléphonique, 2009
Telephone number
Mario Garcia Torres is an artist currently living in Mexico City. He has presented solo exhibitions at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Hirschhorn Museum, Washington, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, UC Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, Wattis Institute, San Francisco and Kunsthalle Zurich. His work has also been exhibited at Centre Pompidou, Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Tate Modern and Kroller-Muller, Otterlo among others. He has participated in group exhibitions including the 29th Sao Paulo Biennial, the 2010 Taipei Biennial; the IX Baltic Triennial, Vilnius, the 8th Panama Biennal, the 2008 Yokohama Triennial, the 52nd Biennale di Venezia, and Documenta 13, Kassel.

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