* 1967, Mexico City
Through the use of wit and humor, Damián Ortega deconstructs familiar objects and processes altering their functions and transforming them into novel experiences and scenarios. Ortega’s work plays with a scale that ranges from the molecular to the cosmic, applying the concepts of physics to human interactions where 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 everydayness converge to activate a transcendent new way of looking at simple objects and routine interactions.
Damián Ortega began his career as a political cartoonist. He joined Gabriel Orozco’s workshop Taller de los viernes from 1987 to 1992. In 2005 he was awarded with the Hugo Boss Prize and in 2007 he was nominated for the Preis der Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst.
His most important solo exhibitions include: The Modern Garden, Garage Museum, Moscow, Russia (2018); Play Time, White Cube Bermondsey, London (2017); El cohete y el abismo, Palacio de Cristal del Retiro, Madrid (2016); States of time, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, United Kingdom (2016); Casino, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2016), Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy (2015); O fim da matéria, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2015); Ape Culture, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) Berlin (2015); Cosmogonía doméstica, Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2014); Damián Ortega: Apestraction, The Freud Museum, London (2013); Tool Bit, PinchukArtCentre, Kiev, Ukraine (2011); Damián Ortega, Barbican Centre, London (2010); Do It Yourself. Damián Ortega, ICA- The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, United States (2009); Champ de vision, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2008); Man is the Controller of the Universe, Daadgalerie, Berlin (2007); Obelisco transportable, commissioned by Public Art Fund for Central Park, New York (2007); Damián Ortega: The Beetle Trilogy and Other Works, REDCAT CalArts' downtown center for contemporary arts, Los Angeles (2007).
Recently, his work has been included in group exhibitions such as Art and Space, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (2018); Rastros y vestigios. Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Mexico City (2016), ICC-Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Guadalajara, Mexico (2015); Et In Libertalia Ego, Vol. II, MONA-Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (2016); The Way Things Go, Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, The Netherlands (2016); Le précieux pouvoir des pierres, Musée d'Art moderne et d'Art contemporain (MAMAC), Nice, France (2016); América Latina 1960–2013, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2013); Mexico: Inside Out, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, United States (2013); Life: A User’s Manual, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2011); Every Day Matters, Faurschou Foundation Copenhague, Denmark (2013); Mexico: Expected / Unexpected - collection Isabel et Agustín Coppel, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, United States (2011) and La maison rouge, Paris, (2008), among others.
His work has also been a part of biennials such as: Tsumari-Echigo Triennale, Japan (2018); 14e Biennale de Lyon, France (2017); THE GARDEN – End of Times; Beginning of Times, ARoS triennial, Aarhus, Denmark (2017); APAP 6 Anyang Public Art Project, South Korea (2016); Sharjah Biennial 12, United Arab Emirates (2015); 55th and 50th Venice Biennial (2013 and 2003); 11 Bienal de la Habana, Cuba (2012); 4 Berlin Biennale (2006); 15th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2006); 27a Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2006) and 4th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2002).
Damián Ortega lives and works in Mexico City.