Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gabriel Orozco at Beaubourg, Paris

Gabriel Orozco in front of his work Four Bicycles, 1994

Back in September I made a post about Gabriel Orozco's soon to open show at Beaubourg. Since then then I've had the pleasure of seeing this small but impactful exhibition. The show is a simple yet profound meditation on the nature of things. About transformation, and the truism that things are never what they seem.

Orozco made his name in the early 1990's as one of the most important artists of his generation. Moving constantly, with no fixed studio, he refuses to be identified with nations or regions, and draws his inspiration from the different places where he lives and travels. His work is characterized by a lively interest in the elements of the urban landscape and the human body. His work is fed by the humdrum incidents of daily life, with their poetry of randomness and paradox. The boundaries between the objet d'art and the workaday environment are deliberately blurred, art and reality deliberately mixed. Movement, expansion, circularity, dialogue between the geometrical and the organic, have marked his ongoing visual quest for over twenty years. This exhibition is a unique opportunity to discover an exceptional collection of his drawings, photographs, sculptures and paintings, most of which have never been shown in France.

The artist has chosen to leave the Galerie Sud space open with no walls. This makes a connection between the gallery and the outside street always busy with people passing. It gives an impression of the show moving outside and the outside coming in. To further democratize the show, the works, placed in three lines, are on the floor, on market tables and on the walls, and are shown without labels.

I first came to Orozco through his acutely observed photographs presented in the catalogue to his show at The Hirshhorn in 2004, (Gabriel Orozco, Photographs, Steidl, 2004). This Beaubourg show, which also exhibits a number of the artist's iconic photographic works, emphasizes Orozco's ability to cross conceptual and executional borders, which is inherent to the meaning of the work and is part of the pleasure of its contemplation.

The show finishes January 3rd.

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