Saenger Galería presents Body Snatchers by Benjamín Torres. For this project, Torres has focused his attention on characters and caricatures, as well as the monuments and commemorative sculptures ubiquitous in Mexico City, all found in his wanderings.
Public space is that indeterminate place where infrastructure and social relations come together: a strictly operated, regulated and monitored territory, although equally shaped by the mass media.
This scenario, a space in permanent transformation, is also Benjamín Torres' space for exploration and research.
Body Snatchers continues a long-term investigation, focused on the compilation of visual materials found in the public spaces of cities such as Tokyo, Paris and CDMX. For this project, Torres has focused his attention on characters and caricatures, as well as the monuments and commemorative sculptures ubiquitous in Mexico City, all found in his wanderings.
In a city that constantly rethinks the validity and relevance of public art, the eleven sculptures presented dislocate the relationship of the observer with his preconceived notion of a monument, generally associated with its function as an aesthetic, symbolic and representative device of subjects or events relevant to the construction of a national identity. Thus, the hybridization of official and unofficial characters activated by the artist becomes a sculptural proposal that enables other types of use, meaning and significance of what occupies public space.
Confronting the carefree perception of the environment based on the experience of the flâneur—the urban individual who walks aimlessly—with the careful differentiation between the made object and the readymade, Torres reworks the demarcations found—a practice that structures different moments of his recent production. —, enabling bidirectional transit from the image to the object; in his own words “from the walls to the pedestals.”
The dislocation of the aesthetic and political sense - both of the source materials and of the definition of a monument - shows the sense of continuity intended with multiple moments and stories in the history of art, particularly with those that allow us to address fundamental concepts such as authorship or appropriation and whose wide temporal space includes pieces from the Moche culture, Dadaist collages or contemporary interventions to Confederate monuments.
This interest is materialized from the display of twelve images that outline the outline of a genealogy proposed by the artist as an approach to incision, caricature, graffiti and civic sculpture from their intersections with different aspects associated with the unofficial. , on the edge and otherness, evident in the appearance of works such as Linder Sterling's post-punk collages; the mysterious polychrome essays of Giacometti, the satirical and pre-modern sculptures of Daumier or the fatal faces of Son Ford.
The study of two formal typologies - the bust and the statuary - in conjunction with the reappropriation of the characters found through drawing, screen printing, digital modeling and bronze casting allows Torres to assign new corporalities to the demarcations found, collapsing the limits between the residual and the colossal. This juxtaposition of elements results in forms and images that oscillate between the humorous and the gross, and places the Body Snatchers project within a critical narrative around the placement of monuments in public space.
Benjamín Torres (Mexico City, 1969) Lives and works in Mexico City, he has a degree in Visual Arts from the National School of Plastic Arts, UNAM, Mexico City. He also took Drawing workshops at The Art Student's League of New York, New York, United States. He as well as a Contemporary Art Seminar with Tadashi Uei Horibata from Kyoto University, Mexico – Japan. He trained in the field of sculpture and subsequently oriented his work towards experimentation, within a more open and post-conceptual concept of three-dimensional practice. He finds his references in the compilation, disassembly and analysis of certain devices of consumer culture and media information. The methods used in the artist's production come from the post-avant-garde scene: appropriation, intervention, recontextualization and assembly, which he uses to give new meaning to both global cultural phenomena and those in his immediate surroundings. Within his most recent projects, Torres formally and conceptually explores the relationship between public space, sculpture, writing and graphics.
He has participated in multiple individual exhibitions, including ¡Don't ever work!, Pequod Co, Mexico City, 2021; The long-term effects are still unknown, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, 2013; Dust of a distant sun, Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico; Diagrammatic, National Museum of San Carlos, Mexico City, 2011. Collectively he has participated in Logs, Museum of Contemporary Art of Querétaro, Casa Wabi Foundation Collection, Mexico City, 2022; Hummingbirds / huitziltin / ts’unu’ob. A project by Casa Casa Gallina at the Museum of the Institute of Geology of the UNAM, Mexico City, 2020; The retinal umbilical cord, II Pictoconstrucciones, EPAC, Mexico City, 2018; On the threshold (and just a few steps from the sublime dimension of beauty), Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City, 2014, among many others.
His work is part of important public and private collections such as JUMEX Collection, Mexico City; EPAC, Mexico City; Spencer Collection, New York Public Library, New York, USA; RAC Foundation, Pontevedra, Spain; USC Fischer Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA; Sonora Art Museum, Sonora, Mexico; Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico among others.
— Saenger Gallery