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Waste: Interdisciplinary Conference, University of South Australia, Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, Adelaide

9th-10th December 2014 

Gabriel Orozco: Leftovers of Time

Sophie Knezic (University of Melbourne)



Amidst the multi-layered practice of contemporary Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco is a recurring exploration of the discarded object. In his openness to the leftover object, Orozco encourages a second glance at things we might first overlook.  Of his Working Tables – a collection of long-stored discarded objects first presented in Zurich in 1996 – Orozco has stated that ‘time is made actual.’[i] Orozco’s work reveals that the leftover can be seen as materialised form of temporality as it is extracted from a continuum of use-value and bears the trace of its former worth. The leftover is an object to be discarded as it has no value – although at some point it was connected to a form that once did. However, the leftover can also offer the prospect for generating new possibilities. Linking the writings of mid 20th century French anthropologist Marc Augé and the contemporary cultural theorist John Scanlan this paper examines Gabriel Orozco’s work in light of the discarded object as a temporal event – a recreation of the present and the refusal of oblivion.


[i] Gabriel Orozco interviewed by Briony Fer, 2006

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