Argentinian artist José Luis Torres has splattered the sides of buildings in Ottawa with colorful plastic objects, eliciting both a playful summertime theme and an unsettling reminder of just how much stuff we own. His sculpture "Tipping Point" is the latest in a series of pieces meant to provoke reflection on our voracious consumption.
Torres has been working and living in Quebec for over a decade, where much of his artwork has been publicly displayed. “Tipping Point” was brought to Ottawa after the artist was invited by Canadian Heritage and EXMURO arts publics for an early July installation. Kayaks, construction cones, children’s toys, and patio chairs in bright, alarming colors seem to explode out of the side of the wall as observers pass by the piece.
The piece is much like earlier works at a Quebec City event, named “Overflows” and “Stock in Transit”. The former portrays an explosion of multicolored plastic equipment bursting out of a tipped storage container, a metaphor for our disturbing reliance on accumulating as many things as we can buy. Each piece is meant to feel imposing and overwhelming, just like the western world’s love affair with “disposable” plastic objects.
Most recently Torres’ “Canopy” piece was featured in Edmonton’s The Works Art & Design Festival. Visitors walked underneath and amongst exposed and covered passageways. The experience is meant to represent nomadism, a key theme in the artist’s life and creative work.
Images via José Luis Torres