An Attempt to Decondition Myself, 1973

Photograph, 8 photographs of various dimensions

A series of videos from the early 1970s exemplifies the practice of action and the use of the body itself and its circumstances. Artists such as Chris Burden and Vito Acconci are fine examples of this. However, Torres chiefly uses action, or performance, as an experiment in which we can find the start of what will be the constant leitmotiv of his oeuvre starting from the late 1960s: memory as a terrain for constructing politics.

An Attempt To Decondition Myself (1974) and Almost Like Sleeping (1975) precisely capture the moment of paradigm shift via an action that reveals an initiation ritual. In An Attempt To Decondition Myself, for example, the artist shows an action in which essentially he will drink until he loses consciousness due to alcohol intoxication. […] The need to perform painful or ecstatic actions in order to achieve a higher (or different) state of being has been a common subject since the dawn of the history of civilisations and has become part of religious feeling. Torres, however, acts out of not mystical but social motivations. His is a rite that seems to condemn the conditions of a culture of hypocrisy, as he will further explore in later works. However, the shift in the axis around which his work pivots had to be made by a staging that stars the artist himself: he stages a rupture and briefly breaks the long episode of para-scientific inquiry.

Bartomeu Marí: Francesc Torres, catàleg de l’exposició Da Capo, realitzada al MACBA l’any 2008.

Technical details

Original title:
An Attempt to Decondition Myself
Registration number:
Torres, Francesc
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. Barcelona City Council long-term
Object type:
Gelatin silver print
8 photographs of various dimensions
MACBA Collection. Barcelona City Council long-term loan
© Francesc Torres, VEGAP, Barcelona
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

For more information on the work or the artist, please consult MACBA's Library. To request a loan of the work, please write to colleccio [at] macba.cat.

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FONS AUDIO #50. Francesc Torres