MATRIX 227: Mario Garcia Torres

MATRIX 227: Mario Garcia Torres

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)

The Grapetree Bay Hotel, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, December 2006
Photo: Mario García Torres
From Je ne sais si c’en est la cause, 2009;
dual 35mm slide projection, sound

February 20, 2009

Mario García Torres
Je ne sais si c’en est la cause, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, and Some Reference Materials
February 22 – May 17, 2009

2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA 94720

Mario García Torres looks to recent history, in both its anecdotal and official articulations, to make connections between the present moment and artists of past generations. He communes with these earlier artists—particularly conceptual artists—through various means, sometimes reperforming their original gestures, obsessively researching and representing documentation of their work, and in some cases engendering imaginary conversations with them. Each of his acts functions as an appropriation of sorts, reframing and refocusing another artist’s work through his own lens to open up a dialogue across time and space relative to the status of art objects and experiences, and the function of memory and anecdote as surrogates in their absence.

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger takes the form of a subtitled slideshow to chronicle García Torres’s recent attempt to revive the Museum of Modern Art Syros (MOMAS), initiated by the artist Martin Kippenberger in an abandoned building on the Greek island in 1993. Similarly, Je ne sais si c’en est la cause, a new commission, has a little of the character of a travelogue, projected images of distant places tied to anecdotal occurrences that are narrated through the device of the folk song (a collaboration with musician Mario López Landa) to construct an alternative lore surrounding the derelict Grapetree Bay Hotel in the US Virgin Islands where artist Daniel Buren created murals in the early and mid 1960s.

In narrating these “quiet, almost cameo-like narratives from the recent past,” García Torres isn’t interested in creating fictions; his research is exhaustive, his documentation real, his narration factual. Categorically, histories claim a kind of fixedness, presuming to represent the empirical truths of a situation. But his work is deeply invested in how his construction of history functions, through operations of inclusion and exclusion, as a subjective and speculative means of understanding the present.

Mario Garcia Torres was born in 1975 in Monclova, Mexico, and is now based in Los Angeles, California. Solo exhibitions include Jeu de Paume, Paris; Kunsthalle Zurich; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. He has participated in group exhibitions at venues such as Yokohama Triennale 2008; De Appel, Amsterdam; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Barbican Gallery, London; 52nd Biennale di Venezia; Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; and Tate Modern, London. He was the recipient of the Cartier Award at the Frieze Art Fair in 2007. He received his B.F.A. from the Universidad de Monterrey, San Pedro Garza García, Mexico, and his M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California.

Mario Garcia Torres’s solo exhibition, as part of The Show Formerly Know As Passengers, will be on display at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco from July 7 to August 1, 2009. On view will be a selection of earlier works that made ground for the new commission presented as part of his MATIRX exhibition.

Public Program
Artist talk with Mario García Torres and Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator Elizabeth Thomas, accompanied by Mario López Landa
Sunday, February 22, 3 p.m.
Museum Theater
(opening reception to follow adjacent to MATRIX gallery)
Admission free

The MATRIX Program at the UC Berkeley Art Museum is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis.

Additional donors to the MATRIX Program include the UAM Council MATRIX Endowment, Jane and Jeffrey Green, Joachim and Nancy Bechtle, Rena Bransten, Maryellen and Frank Herringer, Noel and Penny Nellis, James Pick and Rosalyn Laudati, Barclay and Sharon Simpson, Roselyne C. Swig, Paul L. Wattis III, Penelope Cooper and Rena Rosenwasser, Paul Rickert, and other generous donors.

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA 94720

Gallery Hours:
Wednesday to Sunday, 11 to 5.
Closed Monday and Tuesday.

t. (510) 642-0808
f. (510) 642-4889
TDD: (510) 642-8734

Press contact
Jonathan L. Knapp

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University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
February 20, 2009

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