Galeria Fortes Vilaça is pleased to present Paisagem [Landscape], the new exhibition by Damián Ortega. The Mexican artist uses styrofoam in two new large-scale works. The installations are a development of his recent work together with sculptors of the Rio Carnival, at the Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM) of Rio de Janeiro. On the one hand, the material, which possesses an ephemeral quality, alludes to the modernist architecture of São Paulo. On the other, it transforms into an abstract landscape where scraps and waste play a central role revealing the emphasis given to the process.
In the work Abertura [Opening], installed in the gallery’s high-ceilinged lobby, Ortega re-creates in styrofoam and plaster a section of the roof above the rooftop terrace of the Bretagne Building. This edifice, built in 1959 and designed by João Artacho Jurado, is considered a milestone in the architecture of São Paulo. The characteristic circular openings in the roof allows the passage of light and rain, echoes the artist’s desire to create channels that connect interior and exterior, as though the work were an exercise in opening windows.
This relationship is also explored in Paisagem, the installation that lends its title to the show. Ortega carved a hole through a 2.5-meter cube of styrofoam, allowing all of the little styrofoam bits to scatter throughout the gallery’s floor. The cube’s “shell” remains in the space and acts as the memory of its form, now fragmented into countless particles. There is a certain irony in making a snowy landscape for São Paulo, coupled with an interesting game of bringing the interior of the cube to the outside, which, in turn, is inside another cube, that of the gallery. Ortega emphasizes the experience and the process, evoking the endless cycle of the transformation of matter.
Damián Ortega was born in Mexico City in 1967 and currently lives and works between the city of his birth and Berlin. His solo shows have most notably included Casino, Hangar Bicocca (Milan, 2015); O Fim da Matéria, MAM (Rio de Janeiro, 2015); Cosmogonia Doméstica, Museo Jumex (Mexico City, 2014); Apestraction, The Freud Museum (London, 2013); Do it yourself, Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, 2009); Champ de Vision, Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2008); The Uncertainty Principle, Tate Modern (London, 2005); Cosmic Thing, Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia, 2002). He has also participated in the biennials of Sharjah (2015), Venice (2013 and 2003), Havana (2012), São Paulo (2006), Berlin (2006), Sydney (2006) and Gwangju (2002). His work figures in various public collections around the world, such as those of MoMA (New York), MOCA (Los Angeles), CIFO (Miami), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Fundación Jumex (Mexico) and Inhotim (Brumadinho).