[Image: Gabriel Rico, The second cause is meant to be an explanation of the first (Páramo, The oak tree), 2022. Canvas with embroidered hand-painted yard (Traditional huichol technique), 100 x 150 x 5 cm | 39 3/8 x 59 1/16 x 1 15/16 inch. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.]
[Image: Gabriel Rico, With sweetness amongst the brains, 2021. Hand-painted ceramic, 230 x 230 x 90 cm | 90 9/16 x 90 9/16 x 35 7/16 inch. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.]
[Image: Gabriel Rico, No podemos ver el interior del Sol directamente (Pentágono y máscara), 2022. Brass, mask, neon, 155 x 155 x 10.5 cm | 61 1/16 x 61 1/16 x 4 1/8 inch. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.]

Gabriel Rico "The Propogation of Teurári"

Gallery Perrotin Tokyo


Gabriel Rico
The most recent body of work by Gabriel Rico, an artist from Guadalajara, Mexico, coalesces non-western knowledge of the first nation, or indigenous, people with the intention to build a stronger connection with nature. Realized through his own methods of found object collection and organization, fabrication of new objects, and his extensive collaboration with the local Wixárika tribe, Rico has built an alternative perception of how physics, geometry, logic, and spirituality balance our existence with our potential.

"The Propogation of Teurári" is dedicated to the native group with whom Rico has worked over the last decade. He has collaborated with them by utilizing their traditional artisanal techniques of nierika, or yarn paintings that can be seen in "The second cause is meant to be an explanation of the first (Páramo, The oak tree)," as well as through the use of chaquiras, or glass beads. The techniques lend themselves to a process of folkloric imagination, allowing the Wixárika artisans to construct new universal compositions that employ deer and other natural elements as sacred. The name Teurári refers to a deer manifested in the identity of God. Their nature-based religion inspires Rico and countless others to rethink our relationship with the Earth from a conservation and evolutionary perspective. This perspective reflects the belief systems of the artisans and what Rico sees as the path toward humanity’s salvation.

Upon further inspection, the perception of nature through native beliefs involves rhythm, balance, and harmony that can only be found in the subtlety of natural movements and geometric forms. In "VII from the series -The taste of superlative and the admirable holiness-," the breeze caused by the passing of a human causes the suspended gold leaf to flutter for just a moment; a tactile connection of invisible atoms between the human and the artwork. It is juxtaposed with light, a symbol of the ethereal and metaphor for the light at the end of the tunnel, a heaven-like space in limbo. The symmetry of the work is comforting, much like the Yin and Yang of "No podemos ver el interior del sol directamente (pentágono y máscara)," a product of precise calculation that furthers the sense of balance and form found in nature.

The connection between the object (the sun), the function (the sun supports life on Earth), the logic (mathematics of geometry and physical function), and the interpretation (the symbolism and artistic representation), constructs a symbiosis between that which we see and that which we represent. Rico aligns with the understanding of nature’s function as well as humanity’s common misperception of how it is consumed. By altering the shape and traditional expectation of natural geometry he calls forth the absurdity of our rejection of nature and the use of art itself as an absurd form of representation. This is exemplified in the work "If the Sun had been reduced in size because of the space between I and Us, much more would it have lost its color (glass square)," which converts the sun into a rectangular form and emphasizes the astrophysical components of the photosphere (yellow) and solar spicules (orange).

Parallel to this process is Rico’s conversion of the intangible into tangible. In his "Metawoman" series, clouds embody the ever-evolving, omnipresent feminine identity through the physicality of an ethereal form: vapor. The ubiquity of nebulous forms consistently ties our existence to a more spiritual connection with nature’s elements and the direct effect that humanity has on them: the clouds as a gate to the heavens.

Similar to his approach to the intangible, Rico displays the evolution of tangibility as tied to a throughline of human-nature connection, bridging the manipulated matter of our present towards a speculative future of human potential. A single branch acts as inspiration for the manipulation of neon, brass, and stone, creating a symbiosis of materials both man-made and natural that justify our current circumstance of authority and power over nature. As Rico describes, “I am showing how contemporary society is searching for how to reconnect with nature and how to save ourselves from our own actions.”

In the act of human-to-nature extravagance, the artist soars through the Earthly heavens and into the amorphous identity of space. Scientifically, logically, we prove that our terrestrial connection to nature exhibits only a portion of our understanding of the universe. The potential to connect to the greater ‘beyond’ unveils our unending desire to solidify our place as the most intelligent species. The creation of the Hubble Space Telescope captures these images of distant lands and stardust formations that are nebulous and intoxicatingly beautiful. They are proof of our power to see.

In Rico’s work "To compound the small differences VII," he presents to master craftsman Heriberto Castro Montoya, or Tikitemai as he is known in Wixárika, images from Hubble and asks him to imagine or make tangible the ambiguous forms discovered at the distant reaches of our galaxy and beyond. The translation of these images with chaquiras transforms the identity of cosmic objects into relatable figures that further connect us to the ethereal sense of nature. The delicate craftsmanship of this artisan reflects the care with which representation of nature is of the utmost importance and highlights the expansive relationship that indigenous knowledge has with Earth and the universe.

The gray space–the space in between–that surrounds the divine creatures and objects of nature found in "The second cause is meant to be an explanation of the first (Páramo, The oak tree)" is not empty. Rather, it is a space for imagining where care, trust, and potential provide an opportunity to align our identities and actions with our unending connection to the natural world both on Earth and in the heavens beyond.


May 12 (Fri) 2023-Jun 24 (Sat) 2023 

Opening Hours Information

Monday, Sunday, Holidays
VenueGallery Perrotin Tokyo
Location1F Piramide Bldg., 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032
Access1 minute walk from exit 1a or 1b at Roppongi Station on the Hibiya or Toei Oedo line.