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White Gray Black

Gabriel Orozco (Mexican, born 1962)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

Mexican sculptor, photographer and video artist. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City (1981–4) and at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid (1986–7). In 1995 he worked in Berlin on a Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD) grant. On his arrival in Berlin, Orozco bought a yellow Schwalbe (Swallow) motor scooter. This featured in a series of 40 Cibachrome photographs, Until You Find Another Yellow Schwalbe (1995; London, Tate), each of which shows this scooter paired with the identical models he came across in Berlin. The Schwalbe appears as a symbol of the recently defunct East Germany, where it had been produced, but also as a more general symbol of obsolescence. The strategy of reframing found objects (often as banal as pieces of fruit) is central to Orozco’s work, providing a connection between public and private spheres. This reframing is usually based on formal alignment or coincidence, for instance with Turista Maluca (1991; C. and R. de la Cruz priv. col.) a Cibachrome photograph displaying oranges that Orozco had arranged in a linear perspective on empty market stalls in a Brazilian town. His negotiation of private and public spaces, and his exploration of the relationship between centres and peripheries, continued in an exhibition commissioned jointly by Artangel and Beck’s, Empty Club (1996), which was staged in the temporarily vacant Devonshire Club in St James’, London. Included in this were a series of large-scale computer prints called The Atomist, comprising action pictures of sporting events taken from British newspapers overlaid with geometric spheres and ovals. Situating these manipulated images of individual achievement in the empty club rooms, Orozco drew parallels with the ancient Greek concept of Atomism, which posited matter as constituted by atoms in motion rather than solid substance. The world view that this implies, based on cyclical motion rather than linear stasis, formed the central theme of the exhibition. Orozco’s use of graphics and photography in The Atomist is also reminiscent of the work of Rodchenko and Russian Constructivism, suggesting a comparable worldview based on a combination of movement and rest.

John-Paul Stonard
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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