Gabriel Orozco was the artist entrusted with the third of the Centre-Val de Loire Region’s three-yearly commissions for the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire (2014-2016).
Fascinated by the old wallpaper that once graced the walls of the guest apartments of the Prince and Princess de Broglie – the last private owners of the château – rooms abandoned in 1938 but which were finally opened up again in 2011 for use by contemporary artists, the renowned Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco, as part of a special commission for the Centre-Val de Loire Region, has spent a long time drawing inspiration from the palimpsest of the tapestries still hanging on these old walls.
All of his works are characterised by a search for the traces left behind by humankind and time.
The "Fleurs fantômes" (“Phantom flowers”) he presents at Chaumont-sur-Loire rekindle memories in abeyance, the invisible remnants of lives snuffed out, the intensity of memory of times long gone – which visitors capture a vague sense of without being able to identify the origin of their feelings, and which Gabriel Orozco’s canvases express.
The works which remain at the château, as a reflection of this commission, recapture the details and damage in this old wallpaper, restored by the artist using a slow but unique process of spraying oil on canvas. The quavering images produced are a measure for the uneasiness that comes over visitors here, when confronted with the dialogue between the works themselves and the imperfect walls on display. In this way, the artist brings to light marks and colours that previously escaped the eye, just as he reveals the feeling that had been suspended in time in these rooms.
Gabriel Orozco au Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, 2015 - © Éric Sander
Gabriel Orozco was born in 1962 in Jalapa, Veracruz in Mexico, where he studied at the Escuela Nacional de Arte Plasticas and then the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. His first personal exhibition was put on in 1983 and, from the early 1990s, he made a name for himself as one of the leading artists of his generation on the international stage. His work has been displayed in many prestigious museums including: Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, (1995 and 1998), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2000 and 2001), Serpentine Gallery, London (2004), Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C. (2004), Palacio de Cristal, Museo Nacional Centre de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, (2005), Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico (2006) and Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2006). He has taken part in the Venice Biennale (1993, 2003 and 2005), the Whitney Biennial (1997) and Documenta X (1997) and XI (2002).
His work has been the focus of a travelling retrospective from 2009 to 2011 at the MOMA (New York), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Kunstmuseum (Basle) and Tate Modern (London). In November 2014 in New York, Gabriel Orozco was presented with the Americas Society Cultural Achievement Award, a prestigious prize in the United States.
Gabriel Orozco is represented in France by the Galerie Chantal Crousel and Galerie Marian Goodman.