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Felix Gonzalez-Torres employs readymade everyday objects to create artworks that deeply reflect on the foundational aspects of the human experience, such as love, gender and sexual orientation, illness, and death. His practice often involves viewer participation, presenting art as accessible and socially-engaged to confront elitist notions of art.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s Untitled (Revenge) is one of his iconic candy installations— monumental piles of edible candies for viewers to take and consume, maintained through regular replenishment. Formally reminiscent of Minimalist or Conceptual artworks, but sharply opposed to the essentialist immutability that these works often epitomize, Untitled (Revenge) lives as a morphing entity that embraces change. The pile’s size constantly fluctuates between the forces of depletion and replenishment, as if imitating the breathing of an organism. It has also been installed at alternate weights: 325 pounds when first installed in Madrid in 1991, and 1000 pounds at the Renaissance Society in Chicago in 1994. Untitled (Revenge) is immortal in the way that it perpetually generates new meanings through re-contextualization and interaction with viewers. The work’s inherent mutability, interactivity, and ambiguity render it radically open to the viewers’ subjectivities, inviting new interpretations that uphold its relevance. It speaks to a humanist notion of “immortality” by demonstrating how meanings and ideas can metamorphose across time and space to generate affective understanding and empathy.