Felix Gonzales-Torres’ Untitled (Perfect Lovers)

Perfect lovers. Two clocks, in synch. Two schedules, two mechanical systems. Two heartbeats. They hang on the wall, high and off center. An afterthought. They go on, quietly and persistently. Imagine when they come off the wall and are transported to the next exhibition, or placed somewhere in storage. They keep ticking along, just out of synch with one another. I find myself hoping that they are allowed to stay together midst the bubblewrap. Surely, they must.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres brings us another painfully simple allegory of love and partnership. Gonzalez-Torres was a powerful gay artist active in the 80s and 90s until his untimely death from AIDs in 1996. His conceptual oeuvre accesses the humanity behind the AIDs epidemic. He often references his longtime partner, Ross Lawcock, who died of the disease soon after this piece was finished. These odes often utilize reproducibility and interaction with the viewer to communicate the depth of his love and loss. This particular piece was originally exactly synchronized but destined to fall out of exact alignment as time passed.

They are just clocks. Why is the metaphor so effective that a kitchen wall clock could send such an emotional message? The hands of the clocks continue to click, together, just a bit off, one following another. They move forward, around. You watch them and you leave them, trusting that they will continue, quietly and peacefully onwards. Until the end of time, so to speak.

– Margaret

Image Information: Felix Gonzales-Torres, “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers), 1991
Clocks, paint on wall
Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York
Currently on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
This entry was published on January 5, 2013 at 12:01 am and is filed under Contemporary, Currently on View. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Felix Gonzales-Torres’ Untitled (Perfect Lovers)

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