Gabriel Orozco has returned to Tokyo. Following his retrospective "Inner Circles" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in early 2015, "Visible Labor" at Rat Hole Gallery is a collection of new works that explore Orozco's classic themes of the city, transportation and games, revealing influences of his recent stay in Japan. The bright basement space plays host to toy Ferraris, go (strategy game) sets, Buddha imagery, geometric collages and dark wooden beams — making a city-themed board game of the main gallery.
Mimicking go's geometry and color scheme, the main room showcases wooden blocks and beams, with little compartments filled with toy cars and Buddha figurines. These blocks, resemble miniature villas and skyscrapers and act as game counters, while four large parallel beams serve as highways, complete with vehicles and carefully arranged go stones. The overall effect is reminiscent of Le Corbusier's plans for his unrealized utopian project "Radiant City" (1924). Like the architect's urban plan, Orozco's work may be seen as a proposal for, or at least a mirror image of, a city.
There are parallels between inner city urban development and Orozco's visual use of go. Although a complex game, the aim of go is simple: to occupy more territory on the board than your opponent. In Orozco's game, the wooden blocks, with their Ferraris and Buddhas, compete in displays of wealth, spirituality and status.