Marian Goodman New York | 12 May – 24 June 2023
Traces of bodies in action and works made in relation to his environment are at the heart of Gabriel Orozco’s practice. For almost two years, Orozco has exhibited Spacetime, an off-schedule exhibition-project tucked away inside a rented, readymade gallery space on the floor below Marian Goodman Gallery at 24 West 57th Street.
Download Press Release | Checklist
In physics, space-time is a mathematical model in which space and time meld together to create a fourth dimension. The Spacetime project forges new connections between works that span over thirty years of time and movement. Continuing to experiment with this concept, the new exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery brings together his long-standing interests in nature, travel, geometry, and science, works forming circular references to one another, bending and looping time onto itself.
“The doodles, imprints, blots and stains that fill the pages of Gabriel Orozco’s Diario de Plantas (2021–2) spread out in time as well as space and are, as such, less a matter of formal composition and design than growth and proliferation. Orozco began to make them in Tokyo, where he has been based with his family since 2017, in small notebooks that he found there; then he carried on making many more of them in Mexico, where he also lives and works. Only during the cumulative process of making them did they become something he could imagine as a set of diaries, and only once the notebooks were filled were groups of individual drawings selected from them. While the ‘Diario de Plantas’ may seem modest, there’s something about their deliberately messy provisionality that, while certainly not fitting neatly into pat narratives of art and nature, prompt us to see the work of art driven by its own fragile ecologies and in relation to the precarities of nature. ”
- Briony Fer, Diario de Plantas, 2022
For this exhibition, Orozco presents a new series of paintings (2023) based on the ideas developed in his Diario de Plantas series (2021-2022), in which the impressions of the intricately tangled veins of leaves are accentuated by the line drawings of loops that recall the geometric form of the Möbius Strip. These interwoven shapes and imprints generate a dynamic of continuous movement and growth.
In the large-format paintings, Orozco superimposes the drawing of Leonardo DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man (c. 1490), with diagrams of various plants and animals. Orozco melds these images into one, crossing representations of idealistic human proportions with anatomical studies of animals and plants, culture and nature, organic and geometric balance, and bilateral symmetry.
Since 2015, Gabriel Orozco has been living in Japan, traveling around Asia and immersing himself in a culture that has been important in his work since the beginning of his practice. For this exhibition, Orozco brings together the series of objects, graphics, drawings, collages, and toys that he found and altered, or simply collected as models; the tests and trials used in developing his Roto Shaku and his Obi Scrolls (both 2015), as well as his photographs and paintings made while in Japan, all of which have since been exhibited around the world. An intimate view of his working process, through these materials gathered from his apartment in Tokyo, proposes another segment of the Spacetime project.
Circles, axles, seriality, and rotation function within the numerous test drawings and graphics on paper and canvas, relating to Orozco’s development of what would later become the now iconic Samurai Tree painting series, started in 2004 in Paris. The graphic elements within this series of experiments utilize the grid and the circle to create geometric diagrams of movement and growth, outward from the center of the plane, evolving and developing, akin to how trees and plants grow. Recovered from the storage at his provisional studio outside of Paris (2002-2012), which was the testing ground for these works, Orozco shows the trials and errors together, from computer-generated images to test objects and canvases, narrating the spiralic journey of developing the series.
“The more the format is repeated the more it expands exponentially to create a vast number of different variables. The more formulaic the basic idea, the more confusing it is actually to figure out the logic of each painting. The more you try to follow the knights move - initially so simple, so clear - the more lost you become. The more order there is, the more disorder there is too. This destructive element is there from the beginning , but becomes increasingly evident as more and more paintings are made.”
Gabriel Orozco was born in Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico in 1962. Following his first exhibition in 1983, Orozco has had solo exhibitions at the Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1995 and 1998, Kunsthalle Zürich in 1996-97, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 2000-01, the Serpentine Gallery, London in 2004, the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico in 2006, the Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2012, the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria in 2013, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT), Japan in 2015, and the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado in 2016. In 2009 a major retrospective of his work opened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and traveled to the Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland in 2010, the Centre Pompidou, Paris in 2010, and the Tate Modern, London in 2011.
In 2016 Orozco completed the permanent Orozco Garden at the South London Gallery, UK, after almost three years of work. A unique, sculptural work, it was his first garden design and features over fifty varieties of plants. In 2019, Orozco was invited to design and coordinate the master plan for Chapultepec Park, an ongoing environmental and cultural project to be finished in 2024. In February 2023 Orozco celebrated the completion of his Calzada flotante (Floating Causeway). Designed by the artist as a large-scale pedestrian-only bridge, it is Orozco's first architectural public project in Mexico.