Gladstone Gallery is pleased to exhibit new work by Damián Ortega. Beginning his career as a political cartoonist, Ortega has taken a longstanding interest in teasing out the underlying social and political narrative embedded in even the most mundane of materials, from tools to automobiles. Deconstructing familiar objects, Ortega creates new spatial arrangements with the materials, enabling each component to be analyzed and reconsidered. Ortega is fascinated by systems, and a formal interest in analyzing the relationship between individual parts and their larger whole runs through the artist’s work. Creating works that are at once playful and deeply provocative, Ortega investigates the way things come apart, yet remain fundamentally connected to one another.
For this exhibition, which includes sculpture, installation art, and photographic works, Ortega turns his eye to the concept of language, exploring the ways in which it is fragmented and deconstructed. The main gallery space features a large-scale installation composed of 25 twisted steel sculptures hanging from the ceiling in five grid-like rows. Spotlights hang above each element of the installation, casting a shadow on the ground in the shape of letters of the alphabet. Proposing the idea of creating a new alphabet or language, Ortega has created a work that, like language, is composed of individual elements, yet reads as a fluid whole, with each sculpture evidencing connectivity to its surrounding components.
Damián Ortega was born in 1967 in Mexico and currently lives and works in Mexico City and Berlin. He has had solo exhibitions at notable international venues including: the Barbican, London; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Tate Modern, London; Kunsthalle Basel; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; and Le Centre Pompidou, Paris. His work has been part of major group exhibitions including: Art Basel 41 (2010), the 27th São Paulo Biennial (2006); the 4th Berlin Biennial (2006); and the 50th Venice Biennale (2003). His work is currently on view in “Damian Ortega: The Blast and Other Embers” at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and in “Il Palazzo Enciclopedico / The Encyclopedic Palace,” curated by Massimiliano Gioni as part of the 55th Venice Biennale.