Critics’ Picks

Mario García Torres, Tea, 1391(Iranian Calendar)/2012 (Gregorian calendar), still from a color film in 35 mm transferred to HD video, 64 minutes.


Mario García Torres

Palazzo Donnaregina, via Settembrini, 79
June 21–September 30

Mario García Torres spent eight years excavating the history of One Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, the site where Alighiero Boetti lived (and helped found) after moving to Afghanistan in 1971 and where Torres eventually lived himself. And it is these two stories—of both artists and their respective experiences at this hotel—that constitute García Torres’s solo exhibition “The Boetti Lesson (Searching for One Hotel, Kabul).” The show consists of a variety of documentation, including faxes and postal items, wooden and metal plaques, postcards, and graphic materials culled from the years the artist spent at One. García Torres thus creates a dimension of cinematographic fade-out, so images evoked by testimony pile up, reverberating into one another. The output in this show clearly signals an existential side of García Torres, namely his interest in pondering the unhistoricized passages of artistic events that still resonate.

Within the context of this exhibition, ¿Alguna vez has visto la nieve caer? (Have You Ever Seen the Snow?), 2010, which consists of eighty-nine 35-mm slides transferred to color HD video, and Tea, 1391(Iranian Calendar)/2012 (Gregorian calendar), also composed of a 35-mm film transferred to HD video and first shown at Documenta 13, contribute integrally to this confrontation between different spatial and temporal dimensions, providing intimate and personal evocations of the increasingly mythic figure that is Boetti. García Torres conjures parallel universes, between people and times distant from one another but involved in the same experience. The two stories of Boetti and García Torres converge, conveying a clear spirit of continuity with the concept of the “double,” which Boetti expressed throughout his practice. This sense of doubling is further emphasized by the some fifteen works by Boetti that are also on view, seven which will remain in the museum’s permanent collection within a gallery designed by Garcia Torres himself.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.