Mexican artist Damián Ortega (covered here) reconceptualizes everyday objects in his sculptural installations. For twenty years, his creative interests have lied in the deconstruction of form and how things are assembled. His solo exhibition at HangarBiocca in Milan, Italy, “Casino,” is also a retrospective of his most famous works through today. This includes his new installation, “Zoom,” made for the event. The experience of viewing his artwork has been described as “explosive,” displaying a burst of energy, like an exploding star. Objects and vehicles such as his Volkswagon Bug, “Cosmic Thing,” (2002) are transformed as a critique about technological innovation. Another example is his piece “Hollow/Stuffed: market law” (2012), a hanging submarine replica made of sacks full of salt which spill out onto the gallery floor.
Damián Ortega, with one of his sculptural installations in “Casino.”
The exhibition’s main theme centers around vehicles, specifically a trilogy of Beetle cars in various stages. Ortega has a personal relationship with the car. When he was a teenager, his father handed down to him a white Beetle, the same model used in his installations. Once his car became obsolete, Ortega decided to to pay tribute to it with his art. The individual car parts are made of metal and other cheap materials, representing another concept in Ortega’s works. As a young artist, he did not have the means required to make highbrow sculptures, encouraging him to source alternative methods. His use of everyday objects as media, in this sense, becomes an economical and philosophical reflection. It is not the same as Found Object art, the display of a repurposed, commonplace objects. Ortega is using objects in the way that a painter uses paint and a brush.
“Casino” by Damián Ortega is now on view at HangarBicocca in Milan through November 8.