Untitled (Nobody Owns Me)

Felix Gonzalez-Torres



Collection: Private Collection, Antwerp.

Felix Gonzelez-Torres was active as an artist in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s until his untimely death of AIDS related complications in 1996. Making art during the era of the so-called ‘culture wars’ in America, which polarised society on key subjects of socio-political relevance along ideological lines, Gonzalez-Torres created artworks through a distinct political consciousness. Issues such as abortion rights, the place of religion, sexual freedom, censorship, guns, property and privacy were (and still remain) battleground between ‘progressives’ and ‘conservatives’ in the determination of individual rights and freedoms. The work "Untitled" was commissioned by fashion designer agnès b. as a limited-edition T-shirt in 1994. The back of each T-shirt bears the legend “NOBODY OWNS ME” in green text. The subject of ownership was a recurring theme in Gonzalez-Torres’ work, in terms of both its conceptual characteristics, but also its consideration of politics. The influence of Ronald Reagan on modern conservatism had profound effect on American society, with the introduction of neo-liberal economics as well as legislation intended to define the limits of individual liberalisms affecting women, homosexuals and other minorities in particular. The artist stated: “How can we talk about private events, when our bodies have been legislated by the state? We can perhaps talk about private property”. "Untitled" acts as a statement of defiance against the ideological control of bodies and subjectivities.

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