Julio Torres: My Favourite Shapes
- Suzanne Black
- 6 August 2017
A trinket-laden partly political assessment of modern USA
Julio Torres sits behind a desk littered with glittering baubles among other objects. A phone camera replicates and magnifies his hands' manipulation of each item in turn with the resulting images displayed on a big screen to his left. The young Brooklynite, by way of El Salvador, selects a piece of his collection and accompanies it with a name, a joke, an observation, a story. Ostensibly he is working through a catalogue of his favourite shapes, like the David Attenborough of the tchotchke.
Moving from political commentary to whimsy through non-sequiturs to observational titbits (that occasionally don't land as well on this side of the pond), his rollcall of pleasing artefacts is juxtaposed with the spectre of the USA's terrifying current political situation.
As an immigrant and artist, Torres suggests he is the antithesis of Trump voters. Projecting a delicate presence underpinned with an iron confidence in his abilities, Torres reminds us that while politics defines the landscape, we can reclaim what lies within it. It is a great misfortune then that, given the diminutive size of many of his trinkets, it's often difficult to see them as the lower third of the screen is not clearly visible from the back rows.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug (not 14), 5pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50).