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Gabriel Orozco

Mexican-American Sculptor, Photographer, and Conceptual Artist

Gabriel Orozco Photo

Born: April 27, 1962 - Jalapa, Mexico

"I try always to intimate with the world... with everything I can, to feel love for it, or interest in it. To be intimate you have to open yourself, to be fearless, to trust what is around you, animate and inanimate. Then you start to change the scale of things, of the public and private."

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Summary of Gabriel Orozco

Gabriel Orozco is a contemporary artist who refuses to stay in one place. Preferring to work and live in various cities around the world, Orozco's art reflects his nomadic experience, choosing to make use of found materials and everyday life while rejecting the isolated studio practice. Pushing the limits of the readymade object, Orozco forces viewers to imagine both unseen and overlooked features of the urban and natural environments around them. At the same time, he pushes the limits of traditional artistic media - such as sculpture, painting, and photography - testing the traditional rules and techniques that artists have adhered to throughout previous generations, questioning their relevance for today's rapidly changing social realities.

Key Ideas

Games are some of the most recurring elements in Orozco's diverse body of art work. From the rules and procedures to the active participation of various players, the main aspects of games provide Orozco with myriad opportunities to challenge the notion that art comes from the divine inspiration or intellectual prowess of a single artist. Using the standards of games and the behaviors of game pieces (chess is a particular favorite) as methods for creative production, Orozco lets these rules be as important as his own creative ideas in the making of his art. In turn, viewers are often implicated in these games, recognizing the familiar qualities within an unfamiliar setting and perhaps even playing along in the redefined context.
Working outside of the traditional art studio is an integral feature of Orozco's work. Orozco embraces the surrounding environment: assembling sculptures from found materials in urban settings or photographing the interactions of people, objects, and natural environments. Orozco compels viewers to reconsider the values we place on the objects and spaces around us, as well as our own expectations about what merits the label of art. His nomadic tendencies fuel his curiosity in the stories that surrounding places and things tell, a curiosity he encourages his audience to share by illustrating new ways to see and comprehend both natural and manmade elements in our collective experience.
Orozco's art clearly builds off of earlier experiments with the readymade - a real-world object transformed by its placement within a fine art context. Whereas earlier artists like Marcel Duchamp or Jeff Koons made minimal alterations to readymades, Orozco makes more dramatic, visible changes to the objects themselves. Orozco's additions of intricately drawn patterns onto skeletal remains, for instance, question the definitions and boundaries of the readymade object in sculptural works, as components of previously living beings are now the basis for creative experimentation and design.
Gabriel Orozco Photo

Orozco had a dynamic childhood where dialogue surrounding art and politics dominated conversations in his household. Born in 1962 in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, to the classical pianist Cristina Felix Romandia and the muralist Mario Orozco Rivera, Gabriel was first exposed to modern art in Mexico through his father's art and his work as a professor of art at the Universidad Veracruzana.

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