Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sylvia Gutierrez reviews Gabriel Orozco

              Widely regarded as one of the most influential Mexican contemporary artists of his generation. Gabriel Orozco is a painter, sculptor and photographer highly known for re-framing urban landscapes and the everyday object, blurring the boundaries of what can be considered art like Marcel Duchamp and his usage of readymade objects. He commented on that art doesn’t become art for just being shown in an exhibit, rather “what is most important is not so much what people see in the gallery or museum, but what people see after looking at these things, how they confront reality again”. Overall, Orozco does not view photography with the intention of taking beautiful pictures of what he sees in his surroundings, alternately, photography is more like an instrument in displaying humble moments to impact the viewers in much more profound manner of their own environment and how they affect it, and that is what I truly enjoy from his oeuvre. A lot of his work is achieved through a combination of mediums, exploration, and most of the time just leaving it to fate to come across those special encounters by chance.
               When it comes through exploration and the importance of geography, Orozco’s forty image series Until You Find Another Yellow Schwalbe (Hasta que Encuentres Otra Schwalbe Amarilla, 1995) illustrates him driving through the streets of Berlin over a period of three months to find the same yellow motorcycle as his. To show and reproduce the motorcycle’s movements through the city and then capture it together with it’s newly found partner. In 1996 the art historian Benjamin Buchloh noted that the Yellow Schwalbe Orozco chose had been produced in the dissolved German Democratic Republic suggesting that this work is therefore “a reflection on the wasted opportunities of a socialist counter model ... that had been once at hand” and by him finding other Schwalbes it was as if a representation of Germany’s reunification.
This body of work alongside the Atomists: Ascension shows the photographer’s interest in series, repetition, mapping and patterns. This series was created for one of Orozco's most famous projects, entitled Empty Club in the unused interior of a former gentleman's club in London, it is one of many of Orozco’s works which are often created for the specific exhibit. Orozco features images taken from British newspapers which show athletes in action. Even though at first they may appear as appropriated images with circles dissecting the player, the meaning behind is much more. Like the title of the series Anatomists, these shapes relate to the ancient Greek theory of atomism, which proposes that all matter is formed from tiny particles. Orozco has made these minute particles visible to the human eye to illustrate the unification of everything surrounding humanity.

Until You Find Another Yellow Schwalbe (Hasta que Encuentres Otra Schwalbe Amarilla),
 C-type print

Atomists: Ascension
computer-generated laser print mounted on aluminium

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