Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS:
Created over the past two years by the artist, with support from 6a architects and horticulturists at the Royal Botanic Gardens , Kew, this extraordinary garden will be open to the public every weekend and used by invited groups during the week. It introduces a new , planted entrance to the garden for residents of Sceaux Gardens housing estate, where the South London Gallery (SLG) has run art programmes for a number of years. The opening of the garden marks a pivotal moment in the SLG’s history of working with artists on ambitious and challenging projects which aim to inspire, attract and connect with large and diverse audiences.
Gabriel Orozco, who was born in Mexico and currently lives in Tokyo, is one of the leading artists of his generation. He has exhibited extensively internationally and periodically in London including a major mid - career retrospective at Tate Modern in 2011. He has never before designed a garden, but embraced the challenge of transforming a largely inaccessible paved area of land at the back of the SLG’s main building into a unique sculptural garden as part of his artistic practice.
Spanning sculpture, drawing, photography and video, much of Orozco’s work stems from his idiosyncratic observations of contemporary urban environments, revealing poetry in unexpected locations or the often playful combination of everyday objects. The recurrence of circles in his work, whether in nature or man-made objects (puddles, balls, wheels), or within paintings and drawings, is carried through to his design for the garden. Establishing a tension between symmetry and asymmetry, a geometry of intertwining circles intricately outlined in brick dimensioned york stone subtly maps a series of discreet spaces or notional rooms. Each is lent its own distinctive character through slight shifts in form or by being at different levels, variously planted or featuring seating, a sink, water butt or welcome bowl built up from the york stone . The various levels and spaces can be used interchangeably for sitting, eating, playing or showing work by other artists, reflecting the multiple activities the garden will be used for. The choice of materials was drawn from the language of the gallery’s Victorian building and includes bricks from the newly opened up rear facade. Playing on the idea of an urban ruin, the garden will gradually evolve to become rambling and overgrown with different grasses, low level creepers and fragrant plants chosen with expert advice from horticulturists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.