Monday, Oct 5, 2020 at 10:00am
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For this exhibition, Orozco presents a new series of tempera paintings, and a selection of new watercolor collages which expand upon his Suisai series, begun in 2016. All of the works were completed during these trying times, as the tragic pandemic was underway, either in his apartment in Tokyo or via remote interaction.
The tempera paintings on view all began as spontaneous, quick, and fluid line drawings Orozco made in his notebooks. The notebooks play a key role in Orozco’s work, often replacing the studio as a daily site of experimentation and new ideas. Orozco selects from these little scribbles and blows them up to scale on the canvas. The color placement is a more methodical process and becomes an almost sculptural operation: carving the originating simple lines into shapes that have weight and form, and which sometimes resemble flowers, leaves, tree branches, or other elements of nature — a motif that runs through much of Orozco’s work, and certainly throughout this exhibition. In this series, he incorporates a very limited palette made up of colors he began to use more of after moving to Asia in 2015 and which stem from his study of Japanese painters and their influence on the work of Henri Matisse.
All of the Suisai collages are made using Japanese watercolors, painted onto shikishi (specially prepared paper fixed onto a hard backing). Some include his signature circles and diagrams, and all are a mixture of both discipline and accident. In an interview with curator and art historian Briony Fer (2018), Orozco says the Suisai comprise “…the kind of systematic geometricization that I have always used but in this case I was also playing with watery, fluid brushstrokes as well as with nature. I was studying the Japanese tradition of painting and woodblock printing, and also composition, in Hokusai, Hiroshige, and especially Sotatsu, mixed with my own geometric games.”1
In this new body of Suisai, Orozco adds in various elements of mixed media and collage: tape, paper, gouache, graphite, stamps. Some of them are layered with many colorful elements while others are more contemplative and quiet with minimal colors and brush strokes. The twenty small collages on view in the North Viewing Room particularly recall Orozco’s Roto Shaku series (2015) where he wrapped lengths of wood with various tapes he found in a Tokyo craft store. As with the tempera paintings, some of the shapes in the Suisai begin to take on forms found in nature: flowers, vines, leaves.
The tempera paintings emanate a pure, still quality, while most of the collages contain a frenetic, colorful sense of nature. Taken as a whole the exhibition strikes a palpable balance between meticulous craftsmanship and instinctive, intimate, mark-making.
Gabriel Orozco was born in Veracruz, Mexico in 1962. Orozco has had numerous international solo exhibitions at institutions such as The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California (2000), The Serpentine Gallery, London (2004), the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico (2006), the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2012), and a major retrospective which traveled from the Museum of Modern Art, New York to the Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland, the Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Tate Modern, London (2009-2011). More recently his work has been presented at the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2016), the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT), Tokyo, Japan (2015) and the Moderna Museet, Sweden (2014). In 2019 it was announced by the President of Mexico that Orozco would, in conjunction with the Secretariat of Culture, oversee the construction of a major new cultural center within Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, Mexico.
A new publication, Gabriel Orozco: An Island is a Circle, which spans all of the work Orozco made while living in Bali (2017-2019), will be published late September 2020. Gabriel Orozco: Written Matter, the English translation of Orozco’s notebooks (1992-2012) was published in February of this year, by MIT and Koenig books.
Exhibition Date: September 11, 2020 - October 24, 2020
To protect our visitors and staff, and mitigate exposure to COVID-19, appointments are mandatory, face coverings are required for entry and must be worn at all times. Visitors must maintain proper social distance and be mindful of the allotted time.
Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 7:00pm Eastern Time
WEBINAR hosted by Chinatown Manpower (conducted in Mandarin Chinese)
Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020 at 5:30pm Eastern Time
Streaming online via One Day University
Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020 at 6:00pm Eastern Time