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