"Everything is part of everything, because it lacks limit" (Lao-Tzu as quoted in J. Morgan, "New Order," Do it Yourself, Skira Rizzoli, Boston, Massachusetts, 2009, p.9).
Damián Ortega's playful manipulation of the everyday chair in present work is a literal and metaphorical balancing act, which challenges its audience to reconsider the underlying atomic structures that comprise the seat and our connection to it. Kinetic, engaging, and disorienting, the piece shifts through time, exemplifying Ortega's exploration of the continuum that joins the objects with the vibrating invisible molecules of all existence.
"Exploded, deconstructed, kinetic, collapsed, and unbalanced, Ortega's sculptural works constantly defy their material constitution and our expectation of the behavior, materials, and form" (Jessica Morgan, "New Order," in Do it Yourself, Skira Rizzoli, Boston, Massachusetts, 2009, p. 9). His work revolves around the apparent paradox undergirding the molecular structures and the forms that we ourselves are able to see: "If we could look at an object's molecular composition, we would find that there are long distances between its atoms. How could objects be rigid and hard if there is so much void inside them? . . . to understand the void in this way makes relative the limits between exterior and interior -- the limits of a closed and hermetic space, or those of a sold body of volume, and the context around them. Everything is part of everything -- as stated in the Tao -- because it lacks limits" (D. Ortega as quoted in Jessica Morgan, "New Order," in &IDo it Yourself, Skira Rizzoli, Boston, Massachusetts, 2009, p. 9). Silla Animacián's repetitive, conjoined chairs form a bending, organic curve used by Ortega to make manifest the objects' individual components and inherent structure. This reordering of the ubiquitous puts a hold on the viewer's expectations, prompting new considerations of the chair's construction and its relationship to its environment.
Ortega's giddy reconstructions inspire the notion that human beings share fundamental structures with all matter. He capitalizes on our sudden realization that the chair on which we sit is not so different from his off-kilter re-imaginings, prompting us to consider the constantly shifting scale by which all things are connected (Jessica Morgan, "New Order," in Do it Yourself, Skira Rizzoli, Boston, Massachusetts, 2009, p. 19). Ortega is fascinated with this interconnectedness, and he applies his explorations of the limits of physics to study social behaviors and the continuum of existence that tie together everything from economics and politics to human sexuality. Ortega's constructions remind us that we are part of a unified whole, and that the conflicts, humor, and ironies of our daily lives are very much intertwined with the objects we use, the earth we stand on, and those with whom we live and breathe (Ibid, 10).
Born in Mexico City in 1967, Ortega began his career as a political cartoonist. His art displays the intellectual rigor and sense of mischief often associated with his previous occupation. Currently living and working in Berlin, Ortega continues to use humor to challenge the social, political, and economic conflicts still very much a part of his native city: his work reflects the tension that exists between Mexico City's developing culture and the exceptional, seemingly irrepressible violence of that city. The turmoil present in his object explosion sculptures references the underlying components and conflicts in our own lives. The wit, intelligence, and energy that permeate Ortega's reconstructions challenge our standard perceptions of the normal, day-to-day objects that comprise our material world. These inherently unstable new constructions teeter between playful puns and profound questions about life's most basic substance.
RRSilla Animacián in English "animated chair," captures a kinetic state of in-between, capturing the movement between one condition and the next. The balancing act can be compared to Edward Muybridge's photographic study of movement, with the sloping multiple chairs tracing the object's progression through space and time. Through his innovative and often humorous creations, Ortega draws us into a consideration of life's binding physical and conceptual inclusiveness.