Perrotin is pleased to present Gabriel Rico’s Nature Loves to Hide. Thirteen works are installed across four gallery spaces, hosting two wall installations, seven assemblages with a strong sculptural element and a mural packed ‘‘formula’’ arranged across a vast wall. Together, these works form an experience of delirium and dialectical tension.
Gabriel Rico’s formulas are brief and precise expressions to make, solve or achieve something concrete. Thus, they are processes helping to resolve problems or carry out tasks with a series of symbols and rules. The big difference between mathematical formulas and Rico’s is that our artist’s symbols are “things”; objects steeped in value for being real by their very nature. Therefore, these applications are not intended to be a symbolic or abstract representation of a real being but the synthesis or fusion of things that exist on the material plane. Here, we are reversing the traditional process of representation, experimenting with absurd procedures, then, instead of ignoring reality, taking the physical nature of these objects and combining them to see what happens.
The II – Mural piece presents a series of commonplace objects and a handful of arrows (similar to the if and only if arrows in positional logic) pictured on the white expanse of the wall. The link between these volumes and the graphite symbols is puzzling. And though we cannot clearly decipher his general codes, they are nonetheless eloquent and intuitively legible. A Husserlian épochè is at play where the material nature and physical force of “things” manifests without intervention. The symbols of if and only if are logical connectives more difficult to assimilate and connect with colloquial language. Here, they serve to make “connections” between the objects, linking these products and suggesting a certain type of value.
What draws me to certain objects is my relationship to them and the meaning they acquire when I change their context and utilize them in a new situation, a situation outside their logic of use.
We also have works such as Unity & Uniformity (La Mitla de hérétiques) where more than 200 roughly hewn brass plates are arranged in a space approximately three meters in diameter, representing the full-scale feathers of Mesoamerican birds.
The structure presents a regular pattern that repeats and multiplies over and over, thus creating a perfect visual texture. Interestingly, of these feathers arranged on the wall, only two are from real birds.
Despite the color and material contrast between the roughly hewn metal and the real feathers, the oppositional effect is almost imperceptible owing to the scale of the ensemble. This playful touch forces us to question the powerful landscape produced by the artificial sheets and appreciate the uniqueness of a pair of natural keratin feathers.
‘Nature Loves to Hide’ is a quote from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, which I chose as the title for its simplicity and elegance. It references a fact that continually stuns us when trying to find quantitative meaning in the natural world: nature exists for itself and not for our needs.
To conclude these descriptions, we have one of the large-scale installations entitled Crudelitatem (I will say the Romans that spread upon the world but it was the world that spread upon the Romans). This large piece is full of marble sand which covers the entire expanse of one of the gallery’s rooms. In the center of this arid landscape rises the trunk of a withered fiberglass tree with a bee’s honeycomb in traditional ceramic suspended from a single, rickety side branch. With a series of cylindrical rings with varying radii, the honeycomb overflows with abundant honey which trickles down and drips, thus bathing the human skull at the foot of the tree with succulent sweetness. It appears as though the dead man finally stopped to receive the food he had long waited for. The cryptic sense of this visual fable is effective, causing amusement and a wicked exasperation. This installation functions like a dark tale that confronts us at the denouement with our own mortality but not before offering an absurd and sickly sweet reward.
Taxidermy animals are objects and if the taxidermist did a good job, the animal can fool the brain for a moment. It’s as though the animal has been brought back to life and it is for this intention that I include these animals as part of my practice. It is a way to complete the illusion.
Born in 1980 in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico.
Lives and works in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Gabriel Rico (b. 1980, Lagos de Moreno, Mexico) lives and works in Guadalajara. He studied at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente, Guadalajara.
Recent exhibitions have taken place at: The Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, USA (2019), The group exhibition May You Live In Interesting Times, Venice Biennial, Italy (2019), the Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, the Power Station, Dallas (both 2017); Gyeonggi Creation Center, Ansan-do, South Korea, Fundación Calosa, Irapuato, Mexico (both 2016); MAZ Zapopan Art Museum, Mexico, Korea Ceramic Foundation, Seoul, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice (all 2015); and Ex-Escuela de Cristo, Aguascalientes, Mexico (2014).
—More about the artist