Orozco, Gabriel b.1962 / Samurai Tree (Invariant 8)
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Orozco, Gabriel b.1962 / Samurai Tree (Invariant 8)Orozco, Gabriel b.1962 / Samurai Tree (Invariant 8)Orozco, Gabriel b.1962 / Samurai Tree (Invariant 8)
about this work
Shining in burnished gold, royal blue, crimson red and brilliant white, Gabriel Orozco's 'Samurai Tree (Invariant 8)' merges technical precision and organic growth with hypnotic effect. The sheer scale of the canvas captivates the viewer, drawing them into its orbit. Emanating from a single centre point, the pattern of circles and quadrants is inspired by the mathematic logic behind a game of chess. As one of Orozco's critically acclaimed 'Samurai Tree' paintings this work was created in 2005, the same year he had his important solo exhibitions at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid and Palacio de Cristal, Madrid. Orozco's 'Samurai Tree' series marked his triumphant return to painting, and were first shown to critical acclaim in a solo exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, London and the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington in 2004. 

At the very centre of the canvas, a circle has been divided into four quadrants. Another circle follows the first, each bisected by a single dividing line. For Orozco,'The circle is a very useful instrument in terms of movement, in relation to gravity and erosion. It's the tendency of objects when they're in movement and are eroded by friction...I decided to do the [paintings] to see how much they could express geometry but also organicity'. Repeating this process systematically and varying the size of each circle he finishes his canvas by filling its quadrants and halves with a combination of his four-colour palette. The sequence of colours is based upon a knight, or Samurai in Orozco's terms, as it moves across a chessboard; one square forward, and two to the side or two squares forward and one to the side. Orozco repeats this motion until the whole canvas is covered. 

In 2005, Orozco used a computer program to map out every possible permutation, a total of 677 colour variants, which he has gradually painted over the years. By meticulously following the mathematic logic behind the game of chess, these works examine the multitude of possibilities inherent within a defined structure to mesmerising effect.

In 'Samurai Tree (Invariant 8)', Orozco evolves this elegant structural diagram of circles and quadrants, relating it to the organic symmetry in the growth of a tree as seen from above. 'I love the idea of how trees grow from a center', Orozco once explained, 'how they also grow underground and on the ground from a centre and a horizon and they start to develop all the branches. A tree is a metaphor for me'.  

The artist's instructions for the creation of this series taken from Gabriel Orozco: The Samurai Tree Invariants:

1. Starting from the centre, a sequence of growing circles multiplied or divided by two, developed to the limits of the square.
2. The structural and directional axes of the sequence generate a field division.
3. We have four colours, one colour per field.
4. The location and distribution of colours start from the centre and "jump" like knight in a chess game (one and two or two and one     fields).
5. The background can also be divided by four and the location of colours can be related to the circle in the centre as contrary, complementary or equalizing.
6. The whole structure can rotate as much as the background. 

G.Orozco. Gabriel Orozco: The Samurai Tree, invariants. Koln: Walther Konig, 2006. Print.

"By introducing a carefully chosen, specific object ( in continuation and in opposition to the principle of the readymade) and matching it with the principles of doubling and serial repetition in random chance encounters of these vehicles in a vast urban territory, this work not only introduced a complex variation ( and critical revision of three formal paradigms of Dada, Surrealist, and Minimalist procedures), but it also shifted from the dramatic performance of an act of public fissuring (in La DS) to an act of public fusion" 

Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, "Gabriel Orozsco: The Sculpture of Everyday Life", in Gabriel Orozco (2000), p.98

Gabriel Orozco (b.1962, Mexico )

Samurai Tree (Invariant 8), 2005

Acrylic on canvas
120 x 120 cm
47 1/4 x 47 1/4 in.
Kurimanzutto, Mexico City, Mexico / Private collection Current Location:
USA - Sotheby's N.Y PaintingLatin America


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