"Untitled" (Alice B. Toklas’ and Gertrude Stein’s Grave, Paris)


Framed chromogenic print

74,3 x 92,1 cm

Made in 1992, this photograph depicts the small flowers growing around the grave of the famous lesbian couple of writers who were friends with Paris’ avant-garde, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. The work resonates with others by Felix Gonzalez-Torres that refer to the artist’s companion, Ross Laylock, and his passing: Untitled (1991), depicting an empty bed that holds clues to the presence of two bodies, and Untitled (Perfect Lovers) (1987–1990) and Untitled (Orpheus Twice) (1991)—the latter two exhibited at the Bourse de Commerce in 2022. Untitled (Alice B. Toklas’ and Gertrude Stein’s Grave) (1992) also addresses the issue of the porosity between private and public space, as Stein’s and Toklas’ shared life revealed as much about a private sphere as it did about a social one. Stein was the author of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933), in which she narrated her own life as well as the history of the Paris School through a fictional self-narrative by and about her lover. Just as the personal mixes with the political, death also becomes the starting point for life, and plants echo human history. Nature thus appears as an extension of culture.