Gabriel Orozco designs garden for South London Gallery

Thanks to support from donors, including Art Fund, a new public garden will open this weekend.

Gabriel Orozco's garden has been created in collaboration with horticulturists from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and will include a planted entrance to Sceaux Gardens housing estate where South London Gallery (SLG) has run a number of art programmes. The garden will be open to the public every Saturday and Sunday between 11am and 6pm and can be visited by invite during the week.

Orozco, a prominent artist of his generation, works with a variety of mediums including sculpture, drawing, photography and video, but this is his first garden design. Much of his work comes from his observations of contemporary urban environments and this project has allowed him to use his artistic practice to transform a largely inaccessible area of paved land into a unique sculpture garden.

In much of Orozco’s work there is a theme of circles, with both man-made and natural objects such as puddles, balls or wheels. This emerges in his design for the garden, which includes a series of intertwining circles of reclaimed brick or Yorkstone reminiscent of the gallery’s Victorian building. The various levels and interchangeable spaces in the garden can be used for a number of different purposes such as sitting, eating, playing or showing work by other artists.

The garden will gradually become overgrown with different mosses, low-level creepers and plants specially chosen by Kew Garden’s horticulturalists.

Orozco said: ‘The invitation to create a garden at the South London Gallery as a permanent art work presented a unique opportunity to extend my work into new territory.

‘From my first visit I was impressed by the SLG’s commitment to its local community and neighbourhood and intrigued by the relationship between the garden space and its different audiences, and the idea of creating something which could provide an inspiring platform for all of them.

‘I started to think about various geometries emerging from the architecture surrounding the space and how they might be reintegrated into it as the basis of a design. It has been a fascinating process working directly with the gallery, architects and horticulturalists to develop the plans for the work which I am excited to see become a reality.’

6a Architects who participated in the project with Orozco, worked on the gallery’s award-winning 2010 expansion into a neighbouring house, new Clore education space and the renovation of the former Peckham Road Fire Station, donated to the gallery and due to open in 2018.

To celebrate the opening of the garden, working drawings and a film capturing it’s development over the past year will be shown on the first floor galleries until 8 January 2017.

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