Gabriel Orozco / Mexico b.1962 / Double tail 2003 / Polyurethane foam / 99.1 x 152.4 x 99.1cm / Purchased 2004 with funds from an anonymous donor through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Gabriel Orozco

Gabriel Orozco
Double tail 2003

Not Currently on Display

Double tail is indicative of Gabriel Orozco’s interest in physical and natural phenomena. Using expanding polyurethane foam, which can be both fragile and strong, the resulting sculpture resembles fossils or skeletal structures on the one hand, and a futuristic, aquatic or aerodynamic object on the other.

Polyurethane foam is often used as a disposable, non-recyclable packing material, but the artist’s subtle manipulations and delicate feathering of the material contributes to its organic look. The finished object transcends its medium as a creation of startling simplicity and beauty.


Born in 1962 in Mexico, Gabriel Orozco is part of a generation of artists who have expanded the parameters for contemporary art production since the early 1990s, travelling extensively, drawing on situations, places, cultural practices and histories to negotiate and define a unique practice.

Orozco has engaged photography, video, installation, drawing and sculpture to address and examine what he sees as spaces or ‘categories of action’ that fall between philosophy, science, history and art. Trained in both Mexico and Spain in the 1980s, Orozco has since exhibited widely, including at the Kwangju Biennial in Seoul (1996), New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art (1997), the São Paulo Biennial, Brazil (1998), and the Yokohama 2001 International Triennial of Contemporary Art in Japan.

He has staged solo shows at MoMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and had a major survey of his works from 1990 to 2000 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles.

Discussion Questions

1. Does this artwork look like a fish, fossil or skeleton to you? How would you describe it to a friend who hasn’t seen it?

2. What do you think it was about polyurethane foam that appealed to the artist?

Classroom Activities

Orozco creates suspended objects that articulate space and generate visual tensions between gravity and mass, flatness and three-dimensionality, density and fluidity, surface and form. Develop your own suspended artwork that explores one or more of these tensions.

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