of the Real in Psychoanalysis
Reasoning on the
Concept of Democracy
Nihilism and Love:
The Giver Giveth,
and the Giver
Welcome to the
Desert of the
Two Mexican Poems
A recently translated book by French philosopher Alain Badiou,1 and recent works by Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco share a preoccupation with the concept of multiplicity. The strategies of Badiou and Orozco also share a similar goal, to free philosophy and art from a state of paralysis caused by the oppressive relationships that exist between these disciplines and their own histories. Orozco, in an exhibition titled "Photogravity" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art,2 played with notions of the archive and art-historical continuity by juxtaposing in one large gallery, black-and-white cutout enlargements of some of his best-known works with those of pre-Colombian art and artifacts from the museum's collection. Mounted on metal stands resting on the floor, the images appear on only one side of the panels, which average about 4 feet high. The reverse of each panel is blank. They were presented as freestanding objects that occupy a uniquely ambiguous realm belonging to neither sculpture nor photography. A number of the actual objects that appear in the photographs were on display in nearby rooms, including Aztec pieces in the Louise and Walter Arensberg collection. Also on view in an adjacent gallery was Orozco's 1997 work Black Kites, consisting of a human skull covered with a hard-edge, geometric design rendered in graphite. The composition resembles a topological exercise in which the artist modulates the black-and-white grid patterning from a checkerboard motif to elongated shapes depending on the contours of the bone. The work, which the artist first showed at Documenta X, was recently purchased by the Philadelphia Museum for its permanent collection.
1. Badiou, Alain, Manifesto for Philosophy, translated by Norman Madarasz, Albany: SUNY Press, 1999. Art: Gabriel Orozco, Black Kites, Human skull and graphite, 1997
2. "Gabriel Orozco: Photogravity," curated by Ann Temkin and Susan Rosenberg, appeared at the
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Oct. 27-Dec. 12, 1999.
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1. Badiou, Alain, Manifesto for Philosophy, translated by Norman Madarasz, Albany: SUNY Press, 1999.
Art: Gabriel Orozco, Black Kites, Human skull and graphite, 1997