"Codes in Tokyo Pink,
Graphemes in Mojito Green"
The artist has spent the last years of his career producing works derived from a relationship of complicity with Mexico City.

This document visually narrates his many discoveries and the conceptual bridges he has built with this city on account of investigations and trips to NY, Tokyo and Paris.
lives and works in Mexico City since 1987. Since then, the capital has undoubtedly turned into a flagship regarding the cultural, social and economical. Local artistic production has turned into one of the most solid and fertile ecosystems globally.

Torres’ work has experimented diverse changes during his more than two decades of career, responding to the energetic evolution of his context. Still, it remains strong on its fascination with media culture, voyeuristic observation, obsession with accumulation, and everyday cohabitation with constant change in the midst of chaos…
In 2015, Torres started three projects (explored with diverse degrees of depth) that take as a reference, the paradoxes, oxymorons and strangeness that characterize life in one of the biggest cities in the world, in one of the most extraordinary countries on the globe.

Each of these bodies of work builds a dialogue with a city Benjamín visited as a resident. The result is synergies which reveal the aesthetic, functional and anecdotic (evident and not so evident) relationships which exist in the metropolis and emphasize the cultural revolutions which develop with the artists as global agents who produce and interpret symbolically.
Project: Windows
Year: 2015
Residency: Pioneer Works, NY
I started working with the idea of shuttered windows, first, with great fascination on the way it is done in Mexico City in abandoned buildings or those in process of remodeling. After, due to a visit to a collection center in Brooklyn during my residence in Pioneer Works.

Interest was immediate: How can an object signify blockage and access at the same time? How could I turn an architectonical element to a pictorial support? How to hide and reveal simultaneously?

While I was in NYC, I decided to start working on these pieces using newspapers I bought daily, which turned out to be a temporary registry of my stay in the city.
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Based on the typographic design boxes of the appropriated newspapers, Torres elaborated templates to block and reveal selected information of each of their contents.

This way, he references the proposals of  asemic writing and continues with the work he has been doing for a decade, focusing on media and its messages in the form of collage and decollage.

He also adopts the use of spray paint into his language and evidences his interest for the materiality of paper and its historic role as the support for printed information.
Project: Temporary Collisions
Year: 2018
Residency: Casa NaNo, Japan
There is an obsession for wrapping objects in Japan. There is a tradition of wrapping all products sold practically in any shop with great sophistication.

This practice is called “Furoshiki” - to cover everyday objects to transport, conserve or give as a gift.

For this part of the project, I started with a collection of "bad sculptures" I had acquired in different flea markets back in Mexico City.

As in Japan, I covered the sculptures with cloth, changing entirely their reading and creating my own versions of Furoshiki, playing with the abject, and oscillating between the figurative and the abstract.
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The treatment Torres has given to his covered sculptures talks about the interest he has for the tension that can be generated between sculpture and painting on an aesthetic, symbolic, historial, and conceptual level.

He also plays with the notion of “high art” and “low art” when re-configuring sculptures that have been executed with an end which is strictly decorative and re-inserting them into the specialized circuit with a new vocation.
Project: Demarcated Dislocations
Year: 2018 - 2021
In this project, I take graffiti understood as a plastic language in a specific context, a language that delineates a territory using abstract signs and establishes itself in a public, social environment.

I approach this cultural phenomenon as a liquid language, in constant change, which has been built from the structure of the palimpsest, admitting all kinds of mutations. One that is  between writing and drawing, between text and painting, resorting to a limited variety of graphic and pictorial resources to grant a three dimensional illusive corporeality to its graphemes.

I took the gesture Brassaï did 100 years ago to navigate and document graffiti and urban drawing in Paris and I generated a body of work which synthesizes my observations in Mexico City.
Photo: © Brassaï
Jacques Villeglé, settembre 1970, Parigi. Photo: © André Morain
Photo: © Brassaï
Photo: © Brassaï
Photo: © Brassaï
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Benjamín Torres’ current oeuvre is focused on the investigation, appropriation and reinterpretation of graffiti in Mexico City and Paris.

For his most recent body of work, he has worked with a group of  “writers” that reside in Mexico City and generated new pieces in collaboration with them.

For the ones that originate in Paris, Torres focused, through a historical approach, in graffiti from the beginning of the 20th Century, crafted before the invention of spray paint, and which Brassaï documented in his photographs.

In both cases, the focus of the work articulates an elaborated speech around the public and the political in art and its execution.
Benjamín Torres (1969) trained in the field of sculpture and later directed his work towards experimentation, within a more open and post-conceptual concept of three-dimensional practice.

Benjamín finds his references in the collection, dismantling and analysis of certain devices of the consumer culture and of media information. The methods used in the artist’s production come from the post-avant-garde setting: appropriation, intervention, re-contextualization and assembly, which he uses to re-signify cultural phenomena both globally and from his immediate environment.

His work has been subject to a monographic show at the Museo Carrillo Gil and MACO Oaxaca curated by Guillermo Santamarina and belongs to diverse collections such as Colección Jumex, ESPAC, MACO Oaxaca and Phillips / Yuyito.

He currently teaches at SOMA.
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Sergio López
Víctor Mendoza
Benjamín Torres
Sharon Gesund
André Morain
Chavis Mármol
Programming and text
Pequod Co.
Studio Benjamín Torres
Thank you
Gabriel Florenz, Bosco Sodi, Carla Sodi, Alberto Ríos de la Rosa and Rafael Balboa

This document precedes the show Don't ever work! opening on November 5th, 2021 at Pequod Co.

Benjamín Torres' webpage
Benjamín Torres' Instagram