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Biography

fernando_ortega_colibri_inducido_a_sueño_profundo_2006

fernando ortega

1971, Mexico City

Fernando Ortega’s practice is difficult to classify: largely concerned with poetic, serendipitous moments that arise from the processes of daily life, his pieces take on many forms. For Ortega, art making is an exploration of his own doubts and curiosities about the mysteries he encounters in the world. The emotional and conceptual residue of these confrontations has an understated, latent potential that can be felt and glimpsed in his practice. Through installation, performance, and sound, he modifies spaces, stages actions and works with materials as diverse as spider webs and construction cranes. In his projects, the idea of spectacle generally associated with galleries and museums is transported outside the exhibition space into a day-to-day realm, where the subtleties of the mundane and neglected take the center stage. The notion of chance understood as a lack of order and predictability, has also played a major role in his explorations. Many of Ortega’s works balance gracefully between visibility and invisibility: they examine the relative scale and permanence of materials; and explore our human relationship to time and how it informs our experience of the world.

Fernando Ortega lives and works in Mexico City

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails

let me introduce myself, 2000

silver gelatin print

62.99 x 94.49 in.

 

 

out of tune, tuned, 2005

set of two digital prints

15.75 x 23.62 in.

 

 

untitled, 2003

fly-killing device synchronized with the power supply of the room, provoking a momentary black out in the space each time a fly gets electrocuted

50 x 23 x 6.25 in.

 

 

open microphone, 2013

digital print

40.35 x 50.95 in.

 

 

fifteen squeaks less, 2004

silver gelatin print (set of seven)

4.53 x 5.91 in.

 

 

fifteen squeaks less, 2004

silver gelatin print (set of seven)

4.53 x 5.91 in.

 

 

fifteen squeaks less, 2004

silver gelatin print (set of seven)

4.53 x 5.91 in.

 

 

fifteen squeaks less, 2004

silver gelatin print (set of seven)

4.53 x 5.91 in.

 

 

leak 1, 2005

metallic watercolor box and leak in the ceiling

 

leak 2, 2008

fan, snare drum and leak in the ceiling

variable dimensions

 

 

new balance, 2007

wooden board, glass and digital print

 

new balance, 2007

wooden board, glass and digital print (detail)

 

seconds after the dive, 2005

scaffolding and framed postcard at the end of the trail

scaffolding: variable dimensions

 

 

seconds after the dive, 2005

scaffolding and framed postcard at the end of the trail

scaffolding: variable dimensions

 

 

seconds after the dive, 2005

scaffolding and framed postcard at the end of the trail

scaffolding: variable dimensions

 

 

seconds after the dive, 2005

scaffolding and framed postcard at the end of the trail (detail)

scaffolding: variable dimensions

 

 

simultaneous translation, 2011

set of two digital prints

16.93 x 25.2 in.

 

 

piano, 2008

digital print

11.3 x 7.48 in.

 

 

harmonic variations, 2013

set of four pieces of glass and harmonicas

 

harmonic variations, 2013

set of four pieces of glass and harmonicas (detail)

 

second chance I, 2013

champagne bottle with cork and no wire protector, cricket, pin

12.6 x 3.54 x 3.54 in.

 

 

second chance I, 2013

champagne bottle with cork and no wire protector, cricket, pin

12.6 x 3.54 x 3.54 in.

installation view after bottle exploded

 

 

 

adagio sostenuto, 2013

acoustic guitar with copper strings, high voltage energizer (12500 volts) and electric wire

40.55 x 37.01 x 4.8 in. guitar; 11.42 x 9.84 x 3.54 in. energizer

 

 

adagio sostenuto, 2013

acoustic guitar with copper strings, high voltage energizer (12500 volts) and electric wire (detail)

40.55 x 37.01 x 4.8 in. guitar; 11.42 x 9.84 x 3.54 in. energizer

 

 

n. clavipes meets s. erard, mov. 1, 2008

digital print

35.43 x 23.62 in.

 

 

n. clavipes meets s. erard, mov. 2, 2008

digital print

35.43 x 23.62 in.

 

 

n. clavipes meets s. erard, mov. 3, 2008

digital print

35.43 x 23.62 in.

 

 

untitled 1, 2013

digital print

71.65 x 54.92 in.

 

 

untitled 2, 2013

digital print

71.65 x 54.92 in.

 

 

untitled 3, 2013

digital print

71.65 x 54.92 in.

 

 

new balance, 2010

digital print

13.39 x 20.08 in.

 

 

short cut I, 2010

digital print

18.02 x 23.85 in. framed

 

 

short cut II, 2010

digital print

18.02 x 23.85 in. framed

 

 

assisted levitation, 2008

a crane, 98 ft high with a 164 ft arm, was especially erected to hold a hummingbird feeder visible through the window of an empty hall on the second floor of the museo de arte carrillo gil.

 

assisted levitation, 2008

a crane, 98 ft high with a 164 ft arm, was especially erected to hold a hummingbird feeder visible through the window of an empty hall on the second floor of the museo de arte carrillo gil.

 

para xó, 2002

video

4:07 min

para xó, 2002

video

4:07 min 

 

 

narrow day, 2011

video

4:54 min

 

 

narrow day, 2011

video

4:54 min

 

 

it's no game, 2008

video

2:30 min

 

 

it's no game, 2008

video

2:30 min 

 

 

stolen time, 2017

video 

10:40 min 

 

 

stolen time, 2017

video

10:40 min 

 

 

let me introduce myself, 2000

silver gelatin print

62.99 x 94.49 in.

 

 

out of tune, tuned, 2005

set of two digital prints

15.75 x 23.62 in.

 

 

untitled, 2003

fly-killing device synchronized with the power supply of the room, provoking a momentary black out in the space each time a fly gets electrocuted

50 x 23 x 6.25 in.

 

 

open microphone, 2013

digital print

40.35 x 50.95 in.

 

 

fifteen squeaks less, 2004

silver gelatin print (set of seven)

4.53 x 5.91 in.

 

 

fifteen squeaks less, 2004

silver gelatin print (set of seven)

4.53 x 5.91 in.

 

 

fifteen squeaks less, 2004

silver gelatin print (set of seven)

4.53 x 5.91 in.

 

 

fifteen squeaks less, 2004

silver gelatin print (set of seven)

4.53 x 5.91 in.

 

 

leak 1, 2005

metallic watercolor box and leak in the ceiling

 

leak 2, 2008

fan, snare drum and leak in the ceiling

variable dimensions

 

 

new balance, 2007

wooden board, glass and digital print

 

new balance, 2007

wooden board, glass and digital print (detail)

 

seconds after the dive, 2005

scaffolding and framed postcard at the end of the trail

scaffolding: variable dimensions

 

 

seconds after the dive, 2005

scaffolding and framed postcard at the end of the trail

scaffolding: variable dimensions

 

 

seconds after the dive, 2005

scaffolding and framed postcard at the end of the trail

scaffolding: variable dimensions

 

 

seconds after the dive, 2005

scaffolding and framed postcard at the end of the trail (detail)

scaffolding: variable dimensions

 

 

simultaneous translation, 2011

set of two digital prints

16.93 x 25.2 in.

 

 

piano, 2008

digital print

11.3 x 7.48 in.

 

 

harmonic variations, 2013

set of four pieces of glass and harmonicas

 

harmonic variations, 2013

set of four pieces of glass and harmonicas (detail)

 

second chance I, 2013

champagne bottle with cork and no wire protector, cricket, pin

12.6 x 3.54 x 3.54 in.

 

 

second chance I, 2013

champagne bottle with cork and no wire protector, cricket, pin

12.6 x 3.54 x 3.54 in.

installation view after bottle exploded

 

 

 

adagio sostenuto, 2013

acoustic guitar with copper strings, high voltage energizer (12500 volts) and electric wire

40.55 x 37.01 x 4.8 in. guitar; 11.42 x 9.84 x 3.54 in. energizer

 

 

adagio sostenuto, 2013

acoustic guitar with copper strings, high voltage energizer (12500 volts) and electric wire (detail)

40.55 x 37.01 x 4.8 in. guitar; 11.42 x 9.84 x 3.54 in. energizer

 

 

n. clavipes meets s. erard, mov. 1, 2008

digital print

35.43 x 23.62 in.

 

 

n. clavipes meets s. erard, mov. 2, 2008

digital print

35.43 x 23.62 in.

 

 

n. clavipes meets s. erard, mov. 3, 2008

digital print

35.43 x 23.62 in.

 

 

untitled 1, 2013

digital print

71.65 x 54.92 in.

 

 

untitled 2, 2013

digital print

71.65 x 54.92 in.

 

 

untitled 3, 2013

digital print

71.65 x 54.92 in.

 

 

new balance, 2010

digital print

13.39 x 20.08 in.

 

 

short cut I, 2010

digital print

18.02 x 23.85 in. framed

 

 

short cut II, 2010

digital print

18.02 x 23.85 in. framed

 

 

assisted levitation, 2008

a crane, 98 ft high with a 164 ft arm, was especially erected to hold a hummingbird feeder visible through the window of an empty hall on the second floor of the museo de arte carrillo gil.

 

assisted levitation, 2008

a crane, 98 ft high with a 164 ft arm, was especially erected to hold a hummingbird feeder visible through the window of an empty hall on the second floor of the museo de arte carrillo gil.

 

para xó, 2002

video

4:07 min

para xó, 2002

video

4:07 min 

 

 

narrow day, 2011

video

4:54 min

 

 

narrow day, 2011

video

4:54 min

 

 

it's no game, 2008

video

2:30 min

 

 

it's no game, 2008

video

2:30 min 

 

 

stolen time, 2017

video 

10:40 min 

 

 

stolen time, 2017

video

10:40 min 

 

 

notable solo exhibitions

notable solo exhibitions

His most important solo exhibitions include: Nota Rosa, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2016); Fernando Ortega, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Fernando Ortega, Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte (MUCA), Mexico City (2008); Levitación asistida, Museo de Arte Carillo Gil, Mexico City (2008); Recital de piano, Casa del Lago Juan José Arreola | UNAM, Mexico City (2008); Winter Falls, Bonner Kunstverein und Artothek, Bonn, Germany (2008); Project Room, ARCO 04, Madrid (2004); Intervención sonora, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City (2000); Resumen, Fundación Ludwig de Cuba, La Havana (1998).

selected group exhibitions and biennials

He has also participated in the following group exhibitions: Okayama Art Summit, Japan (2019); Modos de Oír, Ex-Teresa Arte Actual, Laboratorio de Arte Alameda, Mexico City, Mexico (2018); Reverberaciones: arte y sonido en las colecciones del MUAC, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2017); The Transported Man, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum (MSU Broad), Michigan, United States (2017); Punto de partida.Colección Isabel y Agustín Coppel, Sala de Arte Fundación Banco Santander, Madrid (2017); More Than Just Words [On the Poetic], Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2017); Variaciones sobre tema mexicano. Arte Torre Iberdrola, Bilbao, Spain (2016); Strange Currencies: Art & Action in Mexico city 1990-2000, The Galleries at Moore, Philadelphia, United States (2015); Season 8: Pierre Huyghe, The Artist’s Institute, New York (2014); El testigo del siglo, Museo de Arte Zapopan, Mexico (2014); When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, MOCAD Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, United States (2013) and CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, United States (2012); El cazador y la fábrica, Fundación Colección Jumex, Mexico City (2013); All of This and Nothing, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011); Mexico: Expected / Unexpected - collection Isabel et Agustín Coppel, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, United States (2011) and La maison rouge, Paris (2008); The Moon is an Arrant Thief, David Roberts Art Foundation DRAFT, London (2010); among others.

His work has also been a part of the following biennials: 14e Biennale de Lyon, France (2017); 11th SP-Arte – São Paulo International Art Festival, Brazil (2015); 13. İstanbul Bienali, Turkey (2013); 30a, 27a, and 25a Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2012, 2006, and 2002, respectivly); Biennial of the Americas, Denver, United States (2010); Biennale Cuvée 08, Linz, Austria (2008); 50th Venice Biennial (2003).