Mario Garcia Torres
One Minute To Act A Title: Kim Jong Il Favorite Movies
Mario Garcia Torres films a game of Charades among professional actors guessing the former North Korean dictator’s favorite Hollywood films. Indeed rather surprisingly Kim seems to have had a huge collection of Western videos and he published a book called “On the art of the Cinema” in 1973. As the final acknowledgments indicate, Garcia Torres’s work was produced following in depth research, consulting information given by director Shin Sang-ok who has been kidnapped by Kim in 1978, as well as Jerrold Post (The George Washington University) and Timothy Savage (Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development).The motion pictures represented are, in order of appearance: Doctor Zhivago by Craig Wadlin; First Blood by Misti Traya; From Russia with Love by Vanessa Koellner; You Only Live Twice by Nate Harrison; The Godfather by Roberto Medina; Friday the 13th by Gregory Arlt; and Gone With The Wind by Margarita Reyes. Cinematographer: Kevin Merz.
The old-fashioned grainy black and white film stock bring a certain distance or an artistic remove from these otherwise known actors in TV series or cinema. The approach is typically modest in presentation in the mode of performance art of the 1970s. The actors’ gestures hilariously attempt to represent a film at great speed. The success rate seems high as they evoke the popular culture they are charged to communicate. Strangely effectively they also capture general hints of violence and melodrama in the dictator’s taste.
With the care and seriousness of an art historian, Mario Garcia Torres creatively composes with immateriality and his discovery of conceptual practices dating back to the 1960s. His playful work infuses new meanings and continuity into art and some of its lesser known stories. To date artists like Michael Asher, Robert Barry, Alighiero Boetti, Martin Kippenberger have for instance been inspirations for various interventions by Garcia Torres, thus prolonging, and simultaneously slightly modifying, their contexts in present and future times. Photographs, slide shows, video, music, publications allow him to discreetly revisit narratives and myths, either by quoting facts or by inventing tangents.
Mario Garcia Torres was born in 1975 in Mexico. He lives and works between Los Angeles and Mexico City.