Description: GABRIEL OROZCO B.1962 SAMURAI TREE (INVARIANT GOLD 2) signed on a label affixed to the stretcher acrylic on canvas 47 1/4 by 47 1/4 in. 120 by 120 cm. Executed in 2005.
Exhibited: New York, Marian Goodman Gallery, Gabriel Orozco, October - November 2005
Provenance: Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
Private Collection, Mexico
Acquired by the present owner from the above
Notes: The Samurai Tree series, begun in 2004, signaled the artist's return to the medium of painting after a fifteen-year hiatus. The semiotic motif that dominates these engaging compositions has impressed upon Orozco's artistic practice throughout his career. Even from the earliest works in his career, there has been a continuous exploration and development of the simple form of a circle and its redefinition within different media. "I've had circles in the work I was doing since 1991 but this was something I did in my notebook in my spare time. They started as a mental exercise. It was like meditating through drawing," (Gabriel Orozco in Exh. Cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, Gabriel Orozco, 2009, p. 106).
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Orozco himself does not regard the Samurai works simply as paintings but more as diagrams and studies of "a structure which is in constant evolution." (Ibid, p.194) They all begin from a single point around which a circle is drawn and divided in quadrants. In turn lines are drawn out as a continuation of the circle and additional circles are drawn until a satisfactory composition is reached. The colors are then determined by a moving knight, an aspect of the work that stems from Orozco's lifelong fascination with intelligentsia of chess; the knight moves over each section as if the canvas were a chessboard. The resulting canvases depict a personal map of different parties of chess played out in the artist's imagination. Samurai is Orozco's nickname for the knight who conquers the canvas with his shinning permutations of yellows, reds, blues and golds.
The Samurai Tree paintings in this size made their stunning debut in Venice in 2005. He created another seven later that same year, from which the present Samurai Tree (Invariant Gold 2) originates. Only two of the aforementioned thirteen pictures are rendered in the dazzling aurulent palette. The continuous devotion to finding new and unique forms of expression in which past works are important precedents culminates into these intrinsic and striking works which are almost a retrospective of the whole of Orozco's oeuvre to date.