Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco (Jalapa, Mexico, 1962) is internationally recognised as a leading innovator of conceptual art. His work has been exhibited at the most important events of contemporary art over the last decade. Trained at the UNAM National School of Arts in Mexico City, Orozco lives between Paris, New York and Mexico where, since the early nineties, his work responds to different contexts, materials and situations in public spaces around the world. The artist reflects on movement and gravity through various objects, a ball of clay or a pendulum on a pool table. He expresses the actions of everyday life with common objects that are somehow being reviewed from an abstract point of view.
At the Palacio de Cristal del Retiro in Madrid various different episodes from his career in recent years have come together, with some pieces selected specifically for this space. The artist builds sculptures and installations with handmade objects, either found or having come directly from nature. The idea of time is one of the concepts that underpin his work, like in La sombra entre aros de aire (2003), the centrepiece of the exhibition, an architectural and sculptural object that was exhibited at the 2003 Venice Biennale. The piece, made of wood which can be disassembled, is a scale replica of an architecture created by Carlos Scarpa for the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1952, upon which the sculptures were installed. Orozco has designed it as a traveling, mobile piece and time is involved both in it and in the table games. For Orozco, playing is a way of understanding and perceiving. A pool table and a ping-pong table designed to play on, along with the small objects that surround them, show the relationship between work and the environment, nature and artifice, between industrial and organic materials.
The games in the exhibition become philosophical reflections on perception and action in the physical and mental landscape of the world, they encourage spectator participation. The Palacio de Cristal is transformed into a bubble where these games seem to float along with the perception of light, geometry and the organic, in a relationship between landscape and gravity.
Reina Sofia Museum's Publications