Gabriel Orozco - Latin America New York Thursday, November 21, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris
    Private Collection, Paris

  • Exhibited

    New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Gabriel Orozco, 13 December- 1 March 2010, then travelled to Basel, Kunstmuseum Basel (18 April- 10 August 2010), Paris, Musée national d’art moderne Centre Georges Pompidou (15 September 2010- 3 January 2011), London, Tate Modern (19 January- 25 April 2011)

  • Literature

    J.P. Criqui, A. Shcerf and M. Nesbit, Gabriel Orozco: Trabajo 1992-2002, Cologne: Walther Konig, 2004,n.p. (illustrated)
    Gabriel Orozco, exh. cat., Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2005, p. 86- 87 (illustrated)
    Gabriel Orozco, exh. cat., Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico, 2006, p. 163 (illustrated)
    A. Temkin, Gabriel Orozco, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2010, p. 104 (illustrated)
    J. Morgan, Gabriel Orozco (Tate Modern Artists series), London: Tate Publishing, 2011, p. 45 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    I don’t separate the making and the final result; I don’t separate the two. I think the balance, for me, is very important—the balance of the making of something. This making is part of the final result, is part of the final end of the story. And that’s why, again, the body in action, the individual in action, in relation with the social space, the social materials, and economics of these is very important.
    Gabriel Orozco, 2003

    Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco’s conceptual artistic practice revolves around the spheres of video, photography and sculpture, exploring the often unexpected, unobtrusive and routine implications brought into being by everyday actions and objects. The present lot, Two Socks, evokes a rich history of artists utilizing moulds, castings and organic forms and materials to convey a sense of the uncanny, converting the quotidian into the subtly mysterious. This trajectory can be noted in the work of artists such as Bruce Nauman and Eva Hesse, who redefined the parameters of contemporary sculpture as they radicalized the viewer’s physical and intellectual experience of art from the conceptual plane. When considering Orozco’s sculptural practice, Nauman and Hesse specifically come to mind due to their work with both natural and industrial materials, introducing innovative and non-traditional aesthetics to the gallery setting. Hesse remarked about her artistic process, “Don’t ask what the work is. Rather, see what the work does.” In contrast to Hesse, Orozco interrogates the ontological status of everyday objects while distinguishing between the real qualities of commonplace materials, indirectly referencing Hesse’s and Nauman’s theoretical approaches.

    A master at both observation and creative intervention, Orozco encourages his audience to form new imaginative associations between commonplace images and experiences, challenging the traditional concept of beauty as an elevated ideal and incorporating it into the modern reality on the ground. Orozco comments on Two Socks, “Like everyone, I had odd, unmatched socks. Suddenly I realized that I had a connection with the infinite through those socks. They belong, we could say, to a sort of blown-up cosmos, full of odds and ends.” While living in New York the artist decided to create the piece after seeing an episode of British television show Mr. Bean. The artist filled his socks to the point of inflation with papier mâché, until they came to resemble gourd-like objects. Of the production process the artist recalls: “The way in which they are made is the most interesting thing about them. I got the idea to make this piece—separate from all of my amateurish metaphysical meditations—from watching Mr. Bean on television one day. There’s a scene in the park where he’s brought everything he needs to make his lunch, a sandwich. He takes out an immense jar of mayonnaise, an enormous pickle, and an entire bag of sliced bread. He takes out two heads of lettuce and goes over to the water fountain and washes them. Then he takes off a shoe and throws it to the side. He takes off his sock, stuffs the lettuce inside the sock and begins to shake it; this was drying the lettuce. Then he takes the lettuce out of the sock and puts it on the bread, finishing the sandwich. I was laughing at the scene and wanted to play as if I were Mr. Bean. So I filled my sock with papier mâché and I put it out to dry, too.”

    The physical process involved in the creation of the present lot is echoed in Orozco’s celebrated photographic diptych, Mis manos son mi corazón, from 1991. In this work, the artist is seen molding terracotta with his hands, mimicking a heart. Bare-chested, clutching a heart-like mound of clay imprinted with the marks of his hands, this piece succinctly refers to the corporeal essence of our daily interactions with the world. This sense of direct engagement with the most quotidian of our surroundings can be noted in Two Socks, a work whose polymorphous characteristics visually references organic forms. The present lot therefore discursively considers the contradictions and interplay between the handmade and the mass-produced commodity.

    Uninterested in illusionism, Orozco’s sculptures do not pretend to be anything other than what they are—he uses papier mâché, terracotta, rubber, and animal skeletons precisely because of their idiosyncratic natural elements, giving his works a unique sense of conceptual specificity. In so doing, Orozco calls attention to the habitat we have created for ourselves, arguing for greater cohesion and consciousness of our physical surroundings. Two Socks is a fundamental work within a pioneering artistic trajectory, which has come to redefine the confines and objectives of contemporary art.

  • Artist Biography

    Gabriel Orozco

    Mexican • 1954

    Gabriel Orozco's diverse practice, which includes sculpture, photography, painting and video, is centered on the rejection of the concept of a traditional studio. Alternatively, Orozco's conceptual process involves using quotidian objects as commentary on urban society. In the widely exhibited La DS (1993), Orozco cut a Citroën DS car into thirds, eliminating the central section and reconfiguring the remaining parts.

    Another important motif in Orozco's lexicon is that of the colored ellipses. In his seminal series, Samurai Tree Invariants, the artist employs fragmented colored circles as the basis for geometric compositions, exploring the movements made by a knight on a chessboard. These not only represent Orozco's conceptual practices but illustrate his interest in both the geometric and organic world.

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Two Socks

papier mâché, in 2 parts
(i) 3 1/2 x 10 1/8 x 3 7/8 in. (9 x 25.7 x 10 cm.)
(ii) 4 1/4 x 6 1/8 x 4 1/2 in. (10.8 x 15.7 x 11.3 cm.)

$150,000 - 250,000 

Contact Specialist
Laura González
Head of Latin America Sale
+ 1 212 940 1216

Latin America

New York 21 November 2013 4pm