Mario García Torres is one of the most internationally renowned Latin American artists. Torres is an artist who dedicates his work to the history of conceptual art. He uses several media including photography, film, performance, and printed matter to reprise or respond to past works of other artists. As he explains, “my work doesn’t really become a remake of the conceptual story but more like a second rehearsal.” In conversation with Maria Abramenko about “Falling Together in Time”, other works and their making of.
What are you mainly inspired by?
I get inspired by music, by poetry. Then, I hope, that inspiration gets reinforced by more concrete ideas, by non-fiction knowledge. Inspiration is something that you need to call; you need to create the atmosphere for it to happen. And when you have it, you have to massage it, in order for that to become the actual spark of something new. At some point in my career I thought the idea of inspiration was such a romantic thing, but little by little I have started to accept that it actually exists. I guess, it’s a matter of how each of us conceive it and recognize it.
How does your work connect to music?
Music has been close to my work for a long time. I am not a musician, but somehow, I have managed to publish a number of records. I have produced music as works by themselves, but also have created soundtracks for films and installations. Always, as a collaboration with somebody else. I either act as lyricist or as some kind of producer. The first time I did a musical piece, I turned the explanation of a work of art, into lyrics, and that became the main element of a sound installation. I have discovered that music is such an incredible place, because it is a shared language, and also an easy way to transmit ideas. If you look me up on Spotify and most other platforms you could listen to several records.
Can you tell us about your performance at Tate.
Oh, thats been so long. That performance consisted of following people inside the Tate, from the moment they came into until they left in order to discover the dynamics of visitors. I did that during the whole day. It was some kind of re-make of Following Piece by Vito Aconcci.
What is more important for you, the process of work and its documentation or the result?
Process overall. I have never initiated a project thinking of the final result. I actually find it hard to believe anybody now thinks of the final product. I think conceptual ideas are so integral to art thinking these days that they have influenced even the most formal process of art. Falling Together in Time, is a video essay I made last year that really encapsulates all three questions, above; inspiration, music and a certain logic of creation. The piece explores the themes of coincidence and happenstance, weaving together both sparks of inspiration but also liminal moments, like an incident in 1981 in which Mohammad Ali talked a suicidal jumper off the ledge of a building on Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile, with the development of Van Halen’s 1983 hit Jump – a song whose synth-heavy style led to the band’s breakup over artistic differences. It’s a work where creation happens when coincidences appear and is mainly based on music.
What are you working on these days?
Right now, I am writing to you from inside Museo Jumex. Although the museum is closed because of the pandemic, I was invited to work on an exhibition that no one but one person will see in the flesh, but it’s broadcasted during the time the institution should have been open. The idea is to make transparent the processes that happen in a museum, behind curtain, and also to make an exhibition specific for this time when the museum is not accessible; to not let the museum sit there by itself I have been reading, and talking and getting bored, but I am also working on some bi-dimensional series I produced by pouring toner dust onto canvas here. The canvases are some sort of excuse to explore ideas related to uncertainty, repetition, solitude, etc… The piece is live, right now, on the Museo Jumex website, and is open from Tuesday to Monday from 10am to 7pm (Mexico time!).