The work UNTITLED (WE DON´T REMEMBER) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres is closely related to concepts developed by artists such as Steve McQueen. Gonzalez-Torres’s work – which in the exhibition space takes on the form of a precisely placed stack of paper – is simultaneously installation, sculpture, and print. It is defined as a work of art whether or not it physically exists and instigates a dialogue with visitors. Both formally (as sculpture, the artwork dissolves into its individual sheets) and conceptually (the materials used to manifest the work cease to be a work of art as soon as the exhibition is over), this work achieves an ultimate volatility that allows the printed and elicited information itself to become real.
The quote ‘we don’t remember’ raises questions that reach beyond mere history to address both the collective will and individual responsibility. For Gonzalez-Torres, the line between public and private has always been fragile: ‘I don’t think my work is political. I think it’s about the stuff that won’t let me sleep at night.’ ¹
1 Susan Tallmann, “The Ethos of the Edition: The Stacks of Felix Gonzalez-Torres”, in Julie Ault (Ed.), Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Göttingen: Steidl 2016, p. 127. Originally published in Arts Magazine
66, no. 1 (September 1991), S./pp. 13-14.