Mis manos son mi corazón
The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
'My Hands Are My Heart' by the Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco consists of two photographs which hang one above the other. Both show the upper body and hands of a young man. In the top photograph the fingers hold a piece of clay at the level where the human heart is located. The fingers look like a ribcage, held horizontally and symmetrically, with the nails touching together. In the bottom photograph the hands are opened up and show the heart of clay that has just been kneaded, with the little fingers together and the thumbs pointing out. The thin lines of clay which have been pushed out by the fingerprints also look like ribs.
Gabriel Orozco usually created staged photographs based on situations which he found in his own environment. He photographed an object, place or situation he found, after adding something small to it. For example, at the end of a market he left one orange on every deserted market stall. Another time he placed hand-formed balls of sand in the small hollows of an eroded rock. The objects placed in this way have a more or less self-evident relationship with their environment in these situations, but at the same time they are additions which are consciously placed. You often find sand near to rocks, but a pile of sand is never so perfectly round. Oranges are not left behind on every market stall. Orozco’s work is rooted in everyday life, but because of the artificial intervention, it acquires an unreal static atmosphere.
In many cases the materials which Orozco uses for his interventions are fragile and transient, so that the interventions themselves are also fragile and temporary. Orozco captures these moments in his photographs and gives them a sort of eternal quality. Because of their alienating character, the photographs give the viewer the opportunity to reflect about what he is seeing. In 'My Hands Are My Heart', Orozco confronts the viewer with complex and fundamental ideas in a very simple and compact way. The hands creating this lump of clay and then showing it can be seen as a symbol for the artist. The image that he is creating is a print of himself, literally of his hands, but also of his heart and feelings. The heart he shows evokes the feeling of the kneading itself, kneading as a basic form of creation. For Orozco, the hands and the heart, material and form, art and life are inextricably linked.
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