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Desert X 2023 has closed. This installation is no longer on view.

Mario García Torres

Searching for the Sky (While Maintaining Equilibrium)

b. Monclova, Mexico, 1975
Based in Mexico City and Los Angeles

Searching for the Sky (While Maintaining Equilibrium)
33.963394, -116.485582
Pierson Boulevard between Foxdale Drive and Miracle Hill Road, Desert Hot Springs
Desert Hot Springs, California, USA
Desert X 2023

Works by Mario García Torres are inspired by history and the histories of art, which he takes as factual raw material for new narrations, giving famous artworks and cultural icons fresh twists through a variety of media, including painting, photography, film, video, performance and installation. Storytelling, reenactment, report and repetition are few of the strategies García Torres employs in his work, uncovering narratives that highlight the limitation of evidence and the subjectivity of historical records. Attached to the historical settings of his projects, his works bridge past and present by raising awareness about recorded knowledge and excluded content, which often reveal the nature of memory.

The desert is a beautiful and attractive — yet also a dangerous and challenging — place. Searching for the Sky (While Maintaining Equilibrium) carries a reflection on “cowboy culture” that exists across both Mexican and American borders, representative of a macho, self-aggrandizing and forceful control of nature. These qualities also relate to the history of art, especially in the American West. In cowboy culture, and also in land art, there is an asserted promise to harness/control nature, which carries a pronounced risk of failure. In bull-riding, whether with a live animal or its mechanical avatar, competition with a wild beast carries an interest in and celebration of failure. The rider will fail and fall. A cowboy will become a clown. In his installation for Desert X, the artist replaced the bull component of the mechanical bull with a flat, geometric, reflective surface, slowing down the machine’s movement to reveal, little by little, what this object really is. Placed in the middle of the desert, in the formation of
a herd, the work leads us to contemplate the “wild West,” and our relationship to landscape and our role within it; our condition to be both attracted and replaced by failure.

Listen In: Mario García Torres acts as Paloma Contreras Lomas’ interviewer, asking questions about her development as an artist, and how living and working within the cultural and political landscape of Mexico has influenced her work and thinking.

Generous support is provided by Hennessy Paradis.