Drawing in waves

Gabriel Orozco, Dark Wave, 2006

Gabriel Orozco, Dark Wave, 2006

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a sculpture. Or is it a drawing? It’s so hard to tell sometimes. Gabriel Orozco’s Dark Wave is a replica of a whale skeleton – so, clearly sculpture – on which a pattern has been drawn – a drawing then – it’s all so confusing. Quite apart from the overwhelming scale of the piece, what I like about this work is the ambiguity of the thing. There’s the starting point of it feeling like a readymade that’s been worked – an approach Orozco has used a lot in works like La DS – on but in fact the skeleton is remade resin and calcium carbonate before being draw on in graphite. Then there’s the way the pattern makes it harder to quite figure out the skeleton but still somehow manages to feel like it’s meant to be there, albeit in a way that makes the piece feel like it might be some sort of archaeological find.

Gabriel Orozco, Dark Wave, 2006 (detail)

Dark Wave (detail)

Orozco’s practice defies categorisation; he’s made some great photographic work and intriguing sculpture. There’s a strong sense of the absurd running through much of his practice but there’s also a fascination with geometry and a recurring use of circles. And while some of his work makes me laugh out loud there are also works that have the power to move me almost to tears.

Given its extraordinary presence in the space, Dark Wave is perhaps best described as awesome, in the truest sense of the word. And that’s not something you can say about many things.

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