Untitled (Go-go Dancing Platform) Speaks, 2016
Wood, light bulbs, acrylic paint, and performer in silver lamé shorts, sneakers, portable voice amplifier and wireless headphones. Frieze London Art Fair, 2016, wallpaper, text, sound speakers. Courtesy of the artist and Gypsum Gallery.
In October 2016 an artwork by Felix Gonzalez-Torres titled Untitled (Go-go Dancing Platform) produced in 1991 at Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York was sent to Frieze Art Fair in London. The work is composed of a white platform placed in the center of the space with lit bulbs along its top edge. The platform remained empty all the time except for five minutes a day (unscheduled and unannounced) when a go-go dancer appears wearing satin briefs, sneakers, and a Sony Walkman performed a short solo on this little stage to the music blaring from his headphones, inaudible to the guests at the exhibition and then disappearing as abruptly as he had arrived after those five minutes. 25 years later when the work arrived at Frieze London 2016, something very enigmatic happened, the dancer appeared as a foreign and not so erotic body that does not dance, but speaks ...
Mahmoud Khaled uses an iconic piece produced in 1991 by Felix Gonzalez-Torres called Untitled (Go-go Dancing Platform), where for five minutes each day, an unscheduled and unannounced dancer clad in silver lamé shorts, ascends a lighted platform to dance to music of his own choosing, played through earphones so only the dancer could hear. The platform functions as an art object or minimalist sculpture all day, except during those five minutes when the dancer transforms it by his presence. In Khaled’s iteration, the dancer looks the same but he is not dancing. As he moves around on the platform, he is struggling to think about his own existence as an art object demanding a new form of art. Instead of a Walkman, the dancer carries a portable voice amplifier typically used by teachers and tour guides. He reads a text authored by Khaled and based on correspondences between him and a number of art practitioners and theorists who question the role and future of contemporary art in the current violent moment.