alexis dahan — I cannot help but notice this apparent similarity in your work: the artwork exists before it is produced.
lawrence weiner — But it’s like that for all artists!
claude rutault — Well, it depends on what “production” means.
alexis dahan — Okay, let’s say material production as opposed to simple formulation or enunciation.
lawrence weiner — Formulating and enunciating is an object!
claude rutault — I agree with Lawrence.
lawrence weiner — This is why it is stupid to say that some forms of art are “conceptual.” All artists are conceptual!
claude rutault — The instant the work is brought to our knowledge, it exists. I personally call that a “de-finition/method.” The difference between us in terms of the use of text is that Lawrence’s text is already the work, whereas for me the text is not the work.
lawrence weiner — I know.
claude rutault — But it is a significant difference. That is why I don’t think it would be possible to confuse our two ways of using text. Lawrence’s third rule…
lawrence weiner — “The piece need not be built.”
claude rutault — Yes. For me the work must be executed. What I produce is a painting. The work may be dictated with the intermediary of a text, but that text is not yet the work. On the contrary, with Lawrence, the text contains all the possibilities.
lawrence weiner — For me it’s the opposite. The object is foreplay; the text is the orgasm. That being said, the two practices function in the same context with the same aspirations.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Why did you escape from the traditionnal work in a studio?
GABRIEL OROZCO — I didn’t want to be in a studio, painting. It was existential, a necessity. It’s not so much that you adapt to the time, but the time gets adapted to you. You start to circulate in the world, and the world starts to circulate in you. Then you’re part of the wave, like surfing; looking at the waves, and you need to reach one. Which one is the right wave for you to catch? That moment for me was in Spain. After that, around ’86 or ’87, I came home to Mexico. And in Mexico, my work was really different from Mexican art. In ’87, I started to work in the streets. I was very alone there. Then photography became very important because many of my friends were photographers. I didn’t have a camera; I borrowed them. Then snap cameras came out, a hundred dollars. It became cheaper.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Pocket cameras changed your life.
GABRIEL OROZCO — Completely. I could go to dangerous areas in Mexico City and take photos. I could travel.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Were you working alone or alongside friends?
GABRIEL OROZCO — A group of artists who were younger than me became interested in what I was doing, and they started coming to my house. We made a workshop, starting in ’87. We made a kind of school. Not so much a collective because they were younger, still developing, not ready; so we studied art, in my house, for five years.
ALEXIS DAHAN — Did they look up to you?
GABRIEL OROZCO — Yes. They wanted to learn from me. They wanted to know what I knew. They wanted to sneak into my books. They wanted to get some beer. They were very charming.
OLIVIER ZAHM — You created a sort of alternative school?
GABRIEL OROZCO — Yes, by accident I became a teacher very early because they asked me to do it. They came on Fridays. Some days they’d arrive at 10 in the morning and spend the whole day with me, and other times friends came in the afternoon.