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Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca?

A one night exhibition/tribute to Felix Gonzalez Torres performed by Filip Gilissen. Organised by Liverpool Biennial and curated by Lorenzo Fusi in collaboration with Frances Loeffler and Raj Sandhu to launch the 2010 International Exhibition on the occasion of Light Night, 14 May 2010.

The title of this one-night show is borrowed by a proverbial phrase that differently translates (although retaining the same meaning) in English and in Italian. Literally, the Italian proverb – as in other European languages – reads ‘the morning has gold in its mouth’. And gold is indeed what brings together the work of Felix Gonzalez Torres and that of Filip Glissen, acting as a metaphorical thread and unifying signifier.

The two seminal Torres pieces re-enacted or interpreted by Gilissen are Untitled (Golden), a beaded gold curtain created in 1995, and Untitled (Placebo-Landscape-for Roni), a floor-piece of candies wrapped in gold cellophane created in 1993 by Cuban-born Gonzalez Torres in response to Roni Horn’s Forms from the Gold Field. In Gilissen’s vision the gold curtain assumes the shape of a labyrinth-like corridor where the viewer gets gradually lost, coming across an apparently never-ending series of golden shimmer layers that destabilise the audience’s perception/understanding of the surrounding space.

The Minimalist-cum-soul-and-heart gesture envisioned by Gonzalez Torres is magnified and multiplied by the Belgian artist and at once further simplified in reason of the material chosen for its realisation. Gilissen’s curtains, in fact, albeit gold in colour and seductive in their appearances, are cheaply fabricated. It is only the scale of the installation to make Gilissen’s statement apparently majestic. Ephemeral and ethereal as confetti streamers, his curtains create a magic atmosphere that transforms completely two adjoining deserted industrial spaces that Liverpool Biennial intends to be using during the forthcoming festival.

Once emerged from this long gold corridor, the viewer will be introduced into a second warehouse where four cannons will explode throughout the exhibition hours a cloud of metallic confetti (a mystic and festive vapour that will envelop the audience) gradually sedimenting onto the floor to form a precious dispersed carpet of gold. The glittering and opulent effect achieved by these two artworks contrasts with the rough nature of the site, alchemically changing its presence and history, by means that are at once incredibly simple and hugely effective.

In Gilissen’s work surprise replaces abandon, joyfulness sadness, whilst gold takes over the entire place. Felix Gonzalez Torres’ legacy and lyricism are consequently read anew but the same spirit transpires. Sense of loss, beauty, memory, rites of passage, death and love, pleasure and fear for the unknown and void... An entire person’s emotional life is encapsulated in this exhibit/tribute that links the Nineties to the present and the two artists’ personalities. It seems to us that this can represent a perfect anticipation for Touched, the theme and title chosen for the 2010 Liverpool Biennial festival.

Filip Gilissen's website
Il mattino ha l'oro in bocca? on Flickr


14 May 2010, 6-10PM


45-49 Jordan Street
L1 0BW

Free entry