Atomists: Evasive Action
Date 1996
Medium Computer generated image; print on paper
Dimensions 199 x 99.5 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-415
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The unique work of the Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco is distinctive for its blurring of the boundaries between art and reality. Refusing the 'nomad' nomenclature in preference for 'immigrant' (Molly Nesbit, 2000), Orozco reflects on the element of transitoriness intrinsic to the migratory flows that are a feature of modern society. In games of chance which, mediated by a strategy of re-signification, confront logic and seek to set in motion a reflective response in the viewer, his works condense the last sliver of spontaneity that the creative act possesses and seize life – recalling the emblematic work My Hands Are My Heart (1991). Examining new perspectives on what we assume to be right is a fundamental element of Orozco's work, which exists under the constant referential shifts that question place in a repetitive and fictional universe. Atomists: Evasive Action (1996) is an example of this. This work, whose title relates to the Greek philosopher Democritus' theory of atomism which argues that everything that exists consists of atoms, indivisible elements in constant movement, is made up of a series of cuttings from British newspapers onto which Orozco then projected what appear to be floating circular forms. Shown for the first time in London in the exhibition Empty Club in 1996, Atomists: Evasive Action includes a system of spherical and oval forms of varying sizes and colours which, rotating around the composition in a gravitational impulse, create movement in an image which in itself is inherently dynamic. Projected on a human scale, it therefore confronts the viewer with transitoriness and, as if in a ‘floating impasse’ (Orozco's own expression), contradicts the idea of existence as an inalterable presence. Yet the circles, which are never fully coloured, identify absence as forms of the void; archipelagos, they are the inexplicable side of this transitory character – signs, or clues, revealing a vacuum that is impossible to fill. AMB