Centro Botín presents Expanded View [Visión Expandida], an exhibition of works by Mexican artist Damián Ortega (b. Mexico City, 1967). Curated by Vicente Todolí, President of Fundación Botín’s Art Advisory Committee, the exhibition runs from 8 October until 28 February 2023 on Floor 2 of Fundación Botín’s arts centre in Santander.
In his artwork, Ortega uses his ingenuity and humour to deconstruct familiar objects and processes. By changing their functions and transforming them into original experiences and hypothetical situations, he raises broader issues such as the economic, social and political discourse associated with the material and the relationships it is given.
The artist investigates various aspects of the material used from its composition and molecular behaviour to the discourses that shape it and situate it within ownership dynamics and hierarchies. His work applies the concepts of physics to human interactions where chaos, accidents and instability produce a system of relationships in constant flux.
In so doing, Ortega explores the tension within each object, targeting, reorganising, scrutinising, and using his logic to reveal his endless conceptual imagination. The results of his investigations show the interdependence between various components, whether that be within a social system, a domestic object, or the workings of a complex machine.
Although the artist produces sculptures, installations, performances, videos, and photographs (all from drawings), he always sees an artwork as an action: an event. His experiments inhabit a space where the possible and the everyday come together, creating a new transcendent view of ordinary objects and routine interactions.
Ortega uses irony to explore different subjects—including the most complex—and language and poetry play a key role in his work. Recurring themes are human relationships with machines and technology, and he also references nature and geological formations in the titles of his works and the materials he chooses for many of his pieces.
Visitors to Expanded View are able to take in Damián Ortega’s work through nine sculptures suspended in the exhibition space. The choice of display method aligns with an idea thought up some time ago by avant-garde artists, who decided to stop using traditional plinths and instead have their sculptures floating freely in the air. This choice reflects a desire to engage differently with the onlooker, the space and gravity, as well as to reject fixed states.
Exhibition curator Vicente Todolí explains: “Expanded View is the first exhibition focusing on Ortega’s suspended works. It begins in the north of the space (and in relation to the city) with his legendary Cosmic Thing – a deconstructed Volkswagen Beetle that hangs in the air with all its innards exposed. In the central area, materials are meticulously dissected to form the globe, then the exhibition ends with Hollow/Stuffed: market law – a bayside submarine that gradually deflates as the salt inside pours out. The creation and destruction of the world around us are latent within each work.”
The exhibition space has a reading area designed by the artist to house publications by his Alias platform that distributes artists’ writing, together with popular Spanish texts by authors including Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Robert Smithson, Helio Oiticica, Serguei Eisenstein, Sol LeWitt, Yoko Ono, Minerva Cuevas, Ulises Carrión and Clara Porset.
What’s more, the exhibition has its own cataloguejointly published with La Fábrica. This includes a critical theory essay by Peio Aguirre, nine poems by Rafael Toriz and Damián Ortega’s interview with Roberta Tenconi. It contains images of every work on display together with sketches and further details. (Via Centro Botin)