Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco travels extensively, and his works are often inspired by his immediate surroundings. Extremely adept at maximizing the (often limited) resources of wherever he happens to be, he translates his experiences into forms suggestive of his ever-changing surroundings.
Light Signs were made for the 1995 Kwangju Biennale in Korea. Orozco arrived in Kwangju with a set of drawings whose images of interconnecting circles were made by tracing the shapes of ashtrays, plates, glasses, and other household objects. Struck by the abundance of colorful lighted signs lining the streets of Kwangju, Orozco decided to translate his drawings into a simulation of these signs and transcribed them onto handmade light boxes by cutting shapes from brightly colored vinyl adhesive. While simultaneously alluding to European artistic traditions such as Russian Constructivism and De Stijl, Orozco “updates” the medium of painting by using vinyl on plastic instead of paint on canvas.