The Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco (born 1962) arrived on the London art scene with his 1996 exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, followed with a major retrospective at Tate Modern in 2011 and an exhibition at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh in 2013. His latest exhibition at the Marian Goodman Gallery in London shows how his interest in interlocking circles has developed in new ways with scrolls, wooden sculptures, paintings and photographs made over the last year in Mexico, and, more particularly since his residency in Japan from early 2015.
His paintings, finished with burnished gold leaf, are a recognisable development from his previous work. His other work, the Roto Shuku and the Obi Scrolls, shows his exploration into new areas influenced by his time in Japan. .
On the walls of the gallery and in individual timber presentation boxes, the twenty eight Roto Shuku are Japanese scrolls in which his interlocking circles are created using pieces of Japanese silk enhanced with painting and gilding, creating contemporary themes in a traditional art form.
‘Against this preoccupation with emptiness, the recent collages that Orozco has made out of antique textiles would seem to veer abruptly away into mere material stuff. They are made out of the often intricately woven fabrics used for the sashes or obi traditionally wrapped around the waist of the kimono in traditional Japanese dress. Now the cutting out and splicing is actual, as Orozco has used a circular cutter to take circles out of the fabric and flip them to show the reverse as well as the good side of the weave.’ (Briony Fer)
Apparently quite simple but, on examination, quite complex are the series of lengths of timber – some square in section; some circular – bought in the DIY section of a large Tokyo department store, to which he has given a new interpretation, each one decorated differently, given almost sacred significance like Japanese prayer sticks and which stand against the walls of the gallery in different numbers, heights and spacing.
‘Orozco’s working method involves making a few basic decisions about his materials and process which then allow him to avoid or at least minimize making the kinds of choices usually deemed ‘’aesthetic’’. …he has consistently worked in this way, applying self-imposed limits at the same time as allowing the work to be open to the possibilities of chance and contingencies of place.’ (Briony Fer)
The exhibition is accompanied by a newly commissioned text on Orcozco and the Roto Shuku, “Wrappings”, by Briony Fer, from which the above quotations are taken.