Our way of viewing and processing information has changed enormously with the technological developments of the past century. We are near the one hundred years of the first broadcast of television (1936). The first generation of baby boomers has retired. The television nowadays, because of its link to the internet, is called the intelligent one but we still call our money by the same name.
Although frontiers opened in some areas, there is a real crossover from one field to another in art and a crossbred of refreshing and provocative creations. An assortment of various kinds of realities coexist in every domain, but the way in which they are understood, used, confronted, and challenged differs tremendously from one decade to the other. Yet a few things do remain valuable: two of them are the arts and money., that is why I decided to concentrate on those.
Extravagance, deep developments, existence, the formation of ideas, superficiality, incompleteness prevailing over completeness, and in many artistic developments, the ephemeral is as important as the lasting. All these articulations of confrontation revitalize the artworks and the public’s perception. I, Carlos Torres-Machado was intuitive about this and realized that the relation between art and money didn’t deteriorate, on the contrary. I painted intertwined romantic landscapes with perfect strips, and then I also began to deal with form, color, and money like symbols. An idea began to grow in my mind: what if we would honor art masters on bills instead of the existing figures?
The trajectory of the bills touched by hundreds if not by millions of people would be like caressing these great artists who still give us enormous pleasure, enriching our thoughts and experiences with their paintings, drawings, and sculptures. When one pays with credit cards, and even when using any of our technological devices, the touch, the trace remains as part of the process in different ways.
The acceleration of one or the other way of paying is due to the change of pace, but the trace is there. I created artwork to resemble the tributes to artists, the human traces, the very old bills still in use or kept as mementos, the credit card cut-outs to do collages, or the hard drives of computers holding receipts. Through a variety of color and hues, I reveal this different approach to history. And my interpretation is personal, deep, and adds a layer of coherence to the relationship between money and the visual arts.
I am not a geometric artist, I simplify the shapes to make my artwork susceptible to the historical as much as to the humanistic approach. As a development, in 2016 I went further and came up with the Data Center series. I decided to use the Stock Market Data Center from New York as inspiration to create artwork that excels in the immersion of a world of paper stock into digital stock. We choose to go paperless for health/environmental reasons, and the materiality of the stock turns into a digital one that goes up and down intensely without us touching it with our fingers. We just talk about it over the cellular phone, and/or give instructions by digital messaging and email.
The fragmentation of the world, as much as that of how we communicate, doesn’t alter the importance of having un-material stock. If instead of stocks we would have the unique experience of having art to look at, to enjoy, to perceive its presence and materiality, still has an unbeatable economic essence. This is to be understood as one of my major potentials and vitalities of Latin American art.