lurching from the stuff of urban detritus to the stuff of celestial spheres


SCATTERED AROUND THE GARDEN of Gabriel Orozco’s house in Mexico City are a number of soccer balls in various states of dereliction. Dirty, worn, frayed, and more or less deflated, they lie about the place as if they had grown there. Left in the open air, they slowly weather and decay, deflating imperceptibly over time. Occasionally Orozco picks one out and changes its ecology by cutting into it, say, or peeling away precise circular patterns from its outer skin to reveal a fabric lining. Then he may draw over its surface with small constellations of points and lines. Despite their look of material degradation and abandonment, then, the soccer balls are in fact in the process of being reclaimed. A simple cut can reverse the logic of their decomposition, giving them an uncanny life. Photographing them is part of this recycling process. After all, the balls have for all intents and purposes been returned to nature like cultural compost, and then retrieved and put back into circulation in a world of images and things. So, we are invited to ask, are they organic or inorganic? Living or dying? If Orozco is growing soccer balls in his garden, what happens when they circulate in the world and in potentially endless combinations with his other work? Here we might draw connections to his consistent preoccupation with games (billiards, Ping-Pong), or, for that matter, to any number of spherical objects, whether mechanical or natural, that he has made or used.

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