Surprisingly, Gabriel had not exhibited any of his drawings until 2001.

Gabriel Orozco First Was the Spitting Drawing
Gabriel Orozco's drawing from the series First Was the Spitting 1993

Unlike his sketchbook which he uses to take notes, to work on new pieces, and to draw diagrams of sculptures in progress, his drawings are not related to his sculptural practice, but are exercises or ideas that have their own integrity.

Gabriel Orozco First Was the Spitting
Drawing from Gabriel Orozco's series 'First Was the Spitting' (1993)

For many years they were made and simply stored in a shoebox similar to the one that is part of the exhibition. Gabriel has said he partly became interested in showing them as a result of what he perceived to be the lack of interest in drawing in contemporary art. In the exhibition we have included some of his earliest drawings titled ‘First Their Was Spitting.’ Like many of Orozco’s works these use the idea of an originary explosion to begin the work in concept or form. In this case he spat (or ‘exploded’ you might say) toothpaste onto graph paper and then began to develop in ink a more geometrical patter around these organic circular forms. The result is a meeting of the organic and the geometric (similar to the drawing on the skull piece ‘Black Kites’).

Gabriel Orozco is at Tate Modern until 25 April.



Really loved the whole exhibition. These drawings were amongst my favourites. I love the delicacy and details created with something as mundane and a bit gross as spit. Orozco is a fascinating artist and this exhibition really does him justice - his process is as interesting and important as the finished pieces and I think the way this was curated brings that home. Thank you.


Thanks for the opportunity to comment onthe Orozco exhibition. This is the first time I have blogged. I enjoyed the exhibtion overall. I though it was fun and thought provoking. The car obviously but the lift and the line hangings which I thougth evoked sadness. It caused me to look more carefully in future at the obvious in life. I had a few goes at the billiard ball which I enjoyed and was often successful at. I though the motor bikes a little overdone but they we fun. I won't look at a pair in quite the same way again. I thought it was set out in a very accessible way.

Salarrue castillo

These are NOT extraordinary drawings.

deirdre mcardle

Are they paying you to say that Tracey?

deirdre mcardle

oh - and the point of using spit(spitting toothpaste actually) is not because it is gross but because it is random.

deirdre mcardle

and 'they 'say Leonardo used to do a similar thing,throw a paint rag at the canvas to create rock shapes he would then work up,so hard you see to emulate the diversity of nature unobserved ! isn't nature wonderful.

deirdre mcardle

well OK ,and 'action painting' and the automatism of the Surrealists and W.B.Yeats and David Bowie (the random thing) Because of course what can you draw these days if not chaos,if there is any such thing.

deirdre mcardle

and actually I like his drawings too because they seem to say boo to chaos,here's order,that's what we humans do ! yet they are not too uptight.

deirdre mcardle

(and remind me of the mirror paintings of the great Lucas Samaras)

deirdre mcardle

( mirror room 1966) all those buzzes of light that make different shapes, cool! that works so well as a flat image. That has become such an iconic image and one which I think surpasses the installation probably.Funny isn't it conceptual art,installation art ,whatever,something just has to be good, there are no rules.

deirdre mcardle

but that something can be random and a perceived order comes out of a perceived chaos is our extraordinary world ,but sure,these drawings are 'notes'