Appropriation, repetition, reenactment—these are just a few of the strategies Mexico-based artist Mario García Torres (b. 1975) uses to address his chosen subjects. A favorite topic is the history of Conceptual art, which he excavates to uncover compelling narratives: a secret that was never told, a phone number for an imaginary museum, the work of a gifted but unknown filmmaker, or the search for an elusive hotel. He often juxtaposes facts with imagined scenes, blurring truth and fiction along the way. From augmented reality to video, sound installation to painting, sculpture to drawing, García Torres’s works prompt us to consider the subjective nature of historical records, the limitations of memory, and the possibilities of perception.
García Torres’s first US survey, the exhibition Illusion Brought Me Here highlights the artist as both researcher and storyteller, exploring the impulses that produce artistic thought. Encompassing the galleries, the Bentson Mediatheque, and the Walker Cinema, the presentation features 45 works created over the past two decades as well as site-specific installations conceived exclusively for the Walker. A newly commissioned piece made from the soundtracks of García Torres’s media-based art serves as a dynamic audio framework in the galleries. In addition, a trilogy of staged monologues conceived by the artist will be presented live during the run of the show. These performances personify García Torres’s intimate interpretations around contemporary issues.
The exhibition’s title piece is García Torres’s augmented-reality installation. In the project, avatars of people influential to his career—writers, curators, photographers, musicians, and gallerists—take the form of 3D holographic portraits that appear in various locations throughout the galleries. The mobile app for this new work, which can only be experienced on-site in the exhibition, can be downloaded to a smartphone or viewed on iPads available in the gallery.
Organized by the Walker and copresented with WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, the exhibition will be accompanied by the first catalogue to survey García Torres’s work, copublished by the two institutions.
Note: Strobe lighting effects and flashing projections are in use in the galleries.
Curator: Vincenzo de Bellis, curator and director of programs, Visual Arts; with Fabián Leyva-Barragan, curatorial fellow, Visual Arts