Gabriel Orozco
Marian Goodman & Chantal Crousel, Paris
Flash Art - N°115, October 2012

Gabriel Orozco’s exhibition at the Chantal Crousel Gallery presents the Roiseaux, mobiles made of bamboo branches and birds' feathers. Describing these light and graceful plant/animal combinations, Orozco says he “provokes chance. This is why I've changed techniques and materials so much. I'm constantly changing, like a beginner. My method is based on chance, accident, improvisation, spur-of-the-moment decisions. The associations between the objects are in constant flux. Once I’ve provoked chance, I try to find a working logic; there’s a certain logic, for example, in the association of bamboo and birds' feathers ? a formal connection, a tension, an imprecision.”
The gallery walls display a series of collages called the Métonymies, combinations of two images: “The photos, which I call Métonymies, show forms and patterns that we come across all the time. This question of circularity, of the cycle, is important to me.”
A room adjoining the main gallery area presents Orthocenter ? a series of small ceramic sculptures stemming from the artist's experiments on the ways in which the gravity, rotation and fluidity of a mass generate geometric shapes. Orthocenter Views is a grid of 99 photographs illustrating the transformation of lumps of clay by the artist's hands. And the video Boulder Hand shows Orozco uninterruptedly rubbing a stone in the palm of his hand, as if to polish it: “Stability is contrary to nature. In the video there's this movement of the hand that turns a pebble over and over, like a river.”
At the Marian Goodman Gallery, Orozco presents Shade Between Rings of Air (2003), a replica of Carlo Scarpa’s La Pensilina (1952), a pergola designed to house sculptures in the garden of the Italian Pavilion in Venice. Next to this monumental replica, which almost fills the main gallery space, a series of terracottas is on display; Orozco made these by kneading lumps of clay on a table, advancing in a rotating movement from the center toward the edges until empty triangular forms were obtained. This recalls certain Arte Povera artworks, or works by Bruce Nauman: incorporating the bodily imprint into the making of the sculptural object, and making the sculptural object nothing but the pure indexical trace of the process.
The gallery basement presents Orozco’s video Solvitur Boomerando which shows him throwing a boomerang; here again Orozco explores the notion of circularity and return. Facing this video is a grid of 99 photographs presenting the Observatory House, a replica of an 18th-century observatory from the Jantar Mantar site in New Delhi (India).
“The Goodman Gallery exhibition focuses on architecture, geometry and abstract structures; the one at the Crousel Gallery is more organic, related to nature and hybrids,” concludes Gabiel Orozco.