Damián Ortega


Mar  3-31, 2007

Galeria Fortes Vilaça

Galeria Fortes Vilaça has great pleasure in presenting Incide/Inside, the most recent video piece by the Mexican artist Damián Ortega. Moving between various media like photographs, videos, sculptures and installations, the artist shows his ability to create works that demonstrate a fertile dialogue between "material and form, action and thought".

The five-minute long piece Incide/Inside is projected on the wall of the upper exhibition space of the gallery. It was recorded in 2006, when the artist was in Brazil to install his work for the 27th São Paulo Biennial – more specifically, the video shows the stretch between the hotel and the Biennial Foundation building – and is a fast sequence of hundreds of images of posts and trees. Ortega has framed them from the center down, focusing on the meeting point of these trees and posts with the sidewalks and verges. Thus the name, Incide [in this context "insert"] /Inside, which is not without an erotic and humorous tone, as Ortega manages to animate that which is most static in daily life: a post.

The accelerated pace of the sequence of images and the disconnected sound of car engines and horns give the video a frenetic rhythm which make it impossible to apprehend any one individual image. Incide/Inside reveals one of the most important elements of Ortega's poetics: his irreverence towards appropriating day-to-day objects, and exploring their potentialities through their deconstruction.

Ortega questions the limits of artistic creation using bricks, chairs, hangers, cars and even tortillas, the typical Mexican food, by subverting their meanings and functions. The artist alters, deconstructs and transforms objects, revealing their hidden, implicit and symbolic components and creating hybrid forms which draw onlookers' eyes to commonplace elements that rarely attract attention. Ortega questions the position of social space and of nature within the chaos that is urban contemporary reality.

Damián Ortega has a deservedly international reputation; in 2006, as well as participating in the 27th São Paulo Biennial, the artist was a resident on the DAAD Residency Program in Berlin. In 2005 he showed Compression/Depression at the Tate Modern in London and in 2003, he participated in the 50th Venice Biennial with his famous work Cosmic Thing, in which the parts from a VW Beetle are dismembered and meticulously hung by stainless-steel wires from the ceiling.