* 1967, Mexico City
Through the use of wit and humor, Damián Ortega deconstructs both familiar objects and processes, altering their functions and transforming them into novel experiences and scenarios. Ortega’s works play with a scale that ranges from the molecular to the cosmic, applying the concepts of physics to human interactions, in which chaos, accidents, and instability produce a system of relations in flux. Inverting and dissecting, reconfiguring and zooming in, he explores the tension that underlies every object and the infinite world inside them. The result of his inquiries reveals the interdependence of diverse components, be it within a complex engineered machine or a social system. Although his projects –which he envisions through drawing– take form in sculpture, installation, performance, film and photography, for Ortega the work of art is always an action, an event. His experiments inhabit a space where possibility and the quotidian converge to activate a new way of looking, one that transcends the original context of simple objects and everyday relations.
Damián Ortega began his career as a political cartoonist. He joined the Taller de los viernes from 1987 to 1992. In 2005 he was awarded with the Hugo Boss Prize in New York, United States and in 2007 he was nominated to the Preis Der Nationalgalerie fur junge kunst of the Hamburguer Banhof, Germany.
His most important exhibitions include: El cohete y el abismo, Palacio de Cristal, Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (2016); Damián Ortega, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, United Kingdom (2016); Casino, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden (2016), Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milán, Italia (2015); O fim da matéria, Museo de Arte Moderno, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2015); Ape Culture, Hus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (2015); Cosmogonía doméstica, Explanada del Museo Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico (2014); Damián Ortega: Apestraction, Freud Museum, London, United Kingdom (2013); Tool Bit, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine (2011); Damián Ortega, The Curve, Barbican Center, London, United Kingdom (2010); Do It Yourself. Damián Ortega, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, United States (2009); Champ de Vision, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (2008); Man is the Controller of the Universe, DAAD Galerie, Berlin, Germany (2007); Obelisco transportable, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, United States (2007); Damián Ortega: The Beetle Trilogy And Other Works, Gallery at REDCAT (The Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater) and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, United States (2007). Moreover, his work has been included in group exhibitions at institutions such as Hospicio Cabañas, Guadalajara, Mexico (2014); The Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, United States (2013); Faurschou Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark (2013); muac Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2011); Guggenheim Museum, New York, United States (2014 and 2010); The New Museum, New York, United States (2009); La Maison Rouge, Paris, France (2008), among others.
Furthermore, his work has been part of biennials such as the The 12th Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2015); the 155th and the 50th Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2013 and 2003); La biennale de la Habana (2012); the 4th Berlin Biennial (2006); Biennale of Sydney (2006); the 27th Bienal de Sao Paulo (2006) and the Gwanju Biennale, Gwanju, South Korea (2002).
Damián Ortega currently lives and works in Mexico City.