Gabriel Orozco (b. 1962)
Gabriel Orozco (b. 1962)

Naturaleza recuperada

Gabriel Orozco (b. 1962)
Naturaleza recuperada
vulcanized rubber
overall: 40 x 24 x 40 in. (101.6 x 61 x 101.6 cm.)
Executed in 1990.
Kurimanzutto, Mexico City
Alma Colectiva Collection, Guadalajara
Their sale; Phillips, New York, 23 May 2013, lot 8
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
New York, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Hispano, Installation Current Direction, 1990.
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Projects 41: Gabriel Orozco, September-October 1993, n.p. (illustrated).
Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art; Mexico City, Museo Internacional Rufino Tamayo and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Gabriel Orozco, June 2000-May 2001, pp. 34, 79 and 81 (illustrated).
Mexico City, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes and Cologne, Museum Ludwig, Gabriel Orozco, November 2006-February 2007, pp. 106, 237 and 239 (illustrated).
New York, Museum of Modern Art; Basel, Kunstmuseum; Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou and London, Tate Modern, Gabriel Orozco, December 2009-May 2011, p. 34 (illustrated).

Lot Essay

"We are looking at an artist who analyzes the alphabet created by sculpture in art history and then mixes it with the alphabet created by things in reality. Inside Orozco’s work, a series of threads are woven, but along those threads the communication flow is interrupted by knots of meaning. These knots are, simply, those things — transformed into sculpture — which break the circuit of artistic language. The logical and historical consequences of the artwork are subverted or, at least, diverted."
(F. Bonami, "Back in Five Minutes", in Parkett, no. 48, 1996, p. 42).
Gabriel Orozco’s Naturaleza Recuperada [Recaptured Nature] (1990) draws on modern and ancient sculptural vocabularies to open up a dialogue that leads the viewer down multiple paths of interpretation. What at first appears to be an unfamiliar material upon closer inspection reveals itself to be the inverted and inflated inner tubes of truck tires. Orozco said of Naturaleza Recuperada, “I wanted to have this mass of vulcanized rubber that looks like metal or something mineral” — the sculpture simultaneously exudes the lightness of the air within it and the solidity of material with which it is constructed (G. Orozco, "Recaptured Nature. 1990", audio recording via The inflated sculpture participates in the tradition of pneumatic sculpture, engaging with the artistic legacy of Marcel Duchamp and Piero Manzoni, artists whose respective sculptures Air de Paris (original 1919) and Fiato d’Artista (1960) prefigured the Conceptual art movement. Unlike his predecessors, whose work is endowed with meaning through the presence of air from a particular place or person, Orozco’s sculpture subverts any essential value associated with the air it contains, as it is filled with air from a quotidian tire pump. Thus, Naturaleza Recuperada reclaims the primal creative urge while eschewing art history's esoteric demands by declaring that anyone can be a sculptor, as long as he or she owns a tire pump.
Similarly, Orozco plays with the historical connotations of rubber. Natural rubber was first harvested by ancient Mesoamerican cultures to create game balls for ulama, a traditional sport still played by indigenous peoples. Naturaleza Recuperada immediately recalls these dark spheres, though its scale denies the possibility of playing ulama, which requires players to knock the ball inbounds with their hips, arms or wooden paddles. Game-play is a recurrent theme throughout the artist’s oeuvre; later works, such as Carambole with Pendulum (1996) and Ping Pond Table (1998), distort familiar games to induce the viewers into imagining new ways to play.
Naturaleza Recuperada presents a seemingly infinite number of interpretations, constructing dialogues between the past and present, the natural and the manmade, and the ephemeral and the permanent. The sculpture is representative of the artist’s creative practice across media, which is more interested in questions than answers, ever interrogating the potential power of mutating materials, forms and meanings.

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