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Reading Landscapes
Damián Ortega
Apr 10, 2014 - May 11, 2014
K1
 K3

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Exhibition Information
Artist: Damián Ortega (1967- )
Exhibition Dates: 2014. 4. 10 - 5. 11
Exhibition Space: Kukje Gallery K3
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10am-6pm / Sunday, Holiday: 10am-5pm
Website: www.kukjegallery.com


About the Exhibition
Kukje Gallery is very pleased to announce the opening of Reading Landscapes a solo show featuring new works by internationally celebrated Mexican artist Damián Ortega. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Korea and his inaugural show at the gallery. The exhibition will focus on Ortega’s sculptural work, showcasing his unique use of materials and ongoing interest in exploring the forces that shape our world. While best known for his sculpture, Ortega’s work also includes multimedia installation, photography, and video. His practice delights and challenges viewers with a mix of humor, poetry, and engineering marvel that reveals the hidden artistry and possibilities in everyday objects while at the same time framing their social connotations.
Ortega engages themes of materiality and form, function and obsolescence and the concept of “progress,” as well the myriad forces that shape our environment. The artist often literally deconstructs commercial products to reveal their constituent parts or constructs simple forms in new and complicated ways. In these deconstructed objects Ortega takes apart entire machines and suspends each piece, individually revealing the mysteries concealed behind their day-to-day form. Linked to Latin American artists like Jesus Rafael Soto and Gego, Damian Ortega’s visually enchanting suspended structures resemble a sculptural version of an engineer’s schematic drawing as well as allude to the impossible qualities found in caricature.
Throughout his multi-faceted and dynamic oeuvre, Ortega maintains a signature attention to material truth and simple beauty, creating some of today’s most powerful works in any medium.

Damian Ortega’s work is often a balancing act: using balance and coordination as tools and powerful conceptual gestures, the artist’s work frames the delicate and at times unstable forces that constitute contemporary society and the environment in which we live. This impulse to take things apart is embodied in one of Ortega’s most iconic works titled Cosmic Thing,where he disassembled an entire automobile (a Volkswagen Beetle) and hung it from the ceiling in exploded view. While this installation becomes cosmic in its new form (as suggested by its title), it never looses its quotidian and worldly qualities, an important feature of Ortega’s work. Cosmic Thing is an important touchstone for exploring the works in the exhibition at Kukje. Indeed, Ortega has created a powerful new work for Reading Landscapescalled Viaje al centro de la tierra: penetrable that also engages with cosmic ideas inherent in the exploded form. In it, rocks and minerals are suspended from the celling resembling an arrested Big Bang, frozen in time. These assemblages are rooted in the forensic discipline of archeology, where a researcher slowly unearths fragments meticulously reassembling a lost historical time and space. 
The metaphor of a lost time is apt when looking at Reading Landscapes, a series of sculptures that engages directly with what geologists call deep time. Through meticulous study, the subject of deep time illustrates the incredible age of our planet, a measurement that is otherwise overwhelming in its scope. For Ortega, this metaphor is a ripe opportunity to explore how basic principles of geology such as the phenomenon of sedimentary layers, can be used as a formal approach to making sculpture. Installed in K3, the artist’s sculptures materially and visually play with issues of monumentality, and the fragile complexity that underlies our everyday landscapes.
 
This process of layering directly informs Ortega’s installation; at the center of K3 Viaje al centro de la tierra: penetrable functions as an axis mundi delineating the conceptual core of the exhibition. Related sculptures are arranged around this center point. Works such as those in the work titled Breve esquema del Tiempo (scheme of the world), as well as the series of rock-like spheres in Magnetósfera and Geoda 3: Cebolla use their installation together on a single pedestal to suggest a kind of metamorphic evolution. These works allude to both the geology of the earth and the complex science that we use to study it, portraying the dense materials that under extreme pressure, layer upon layer, physically comprise our planet.
 
This pressure is interpreted in the Geoda series, whose forms and formative processes are derived from the way that rich minerals of unusual colors and textures come together to form a rock, a mountain, and the earth. These works powerfully engage in the relationship between natural forces and the ancient search for metaphysical meaning. These mysterious objects speak directly to cosmic questions of origins that have occupied culture since the beginning of recorded history. With this work Ortega challenges us to readthe landscape, really look at it—at the forces that shape it—by illustrating how the hidden centers of seemingly banal rocks can contain exquisite beauty and deeper meaning.
 
Ortega’s ability to reframe complex conceptual ideas using familiar materials is one of his hallmarks. One of the materials he has used repeatedly to great effect is concrete. Ubiquitous around the world, concrete is a material that can be seen as synonymous with progress. In his Extracción sculptures Ortega takes advantage of the plasticity of concrete to make it function as both a symbol for architecture and nature. He does this by stacking pigmented cement forms in ornate and highly engineered codependency, allowing them to exude a natural corporeality. This combination subtly melds two of the artist’s principal strategies of deconstructing and balance, playfully suggesting a child’s game of stacking while pointedly demanding that we confront the precariousness of our foundations, be they cultural or ecological.
 
This desire to translate the mysterious poetry hidden, indeed buried, in the land can be seen to even more profound effect in Ortega’s ambitious illustration of tectonic forces in FracturaFalla and Todas las fallas. In these dynamic and varied sculptures the artist has successfully recast the hidden dynamic that shapes the planet, utilizing prosaic materials such as bricks, cast, concrete, and wood to symbolize the multiple vectors that act violently upon each other to create topography. Besides being brutal and beautiful portrayals of geological phenomena, Ortega’s seems to make a comment on the parallel social forces that act just as forcefully in every stratum of our lives.
 
Damian Ortega’s work refuses a single interpretation. It is formally weighty and also light, powerfully grappling with elemental forces of materiality and gravity while simultaneously engaging with cultural symbolism and the instability of contemporary society. Reading Landscapes is an ambitious and vitally important exhibition that asks the viewer to engage in both the works and their surroundings. Kukje is extremely proud to have the opportunity to showcase the work of this seminal artist.
 
 
About the Artist
Born in 1967 in Mexico City, Damián Ortega began his career as a political cartoonist, sharpening his critical eye and honing his incisive sense of humor during a time of political unrest. Ortega came of age as a young artist in Mexico when contemporary art was difficult to study, and in response began attending a weekly discussion (known as the Friday workshops) at the artist Gabriel Orozco’s studio along with fellow artists Abraham Cruzvillegas, Gabriel Kuri and Dr. Lakra. Here they debated current ideas and new alternatives fomenting around the world. During this time, and taking into consideration Orozco’s influence, Ortega developed his conceptual vocabulary showcasing how architecture, sculpture, and modern technologies cross-pollinate. A recipient of the prestigious German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) grant Ortega eventually moved to Berlin where he lived for many years refining his métier and exploring the vibrant cross-cultural intersections that mark his practice to this day. He has since returned to Mexico City where he maintains his busy practice. Ortega has been the subject of major exhibitions at both The Barbican and Tate Modern, London, Centre Pompidou, Paris, The ICA, Boston, The Gwangju Biennial (2002) and the Venice Biennial (2003 and 2013). His work is in the permanent collections of MoMA, New York, Tate, London, Centre Pompidou, Paris, MOCA Los Angeles, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland Museum of Art, to name a few. 






관람안내
Artist: Damián Ortega (1967- )
Exhibition Dates: 2014. 4. 10 - 5. 11
Exhibition Space: Kukje Gallery K3
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10am-6pm / Sunday, Holiday: 10am-5pm
Website: www.kukjegallery.com


전시소개 
국제갤러리는 국내에서 첫 선을 보이는 동시대 남미현대미술의 주목 받는 새로운 세대의 작가 다미안 오르테가의 개인전을 개최한다.
오르테가는 일상에서 흔히 볼 수 있는 다듬어지지 않은 비(非) 미술적 재료들을 다루어왔다. 그의 작품은 사용된 재료의 본질적인 용도와 그것이 지니는 사회적이고 역사적인 개념을 투영한다.
그가 탐구하는 주요한 작품 주제는 특정한 경제 혹은 문화적인 현상에 대한 것으로서, 실례로 자본주의에서 비롯된 특정 지역의 상품소비현상이 향후 어떻게 사회에 영향을 미치는 지와 같은 내용을 미학적인 범주의 문화현상으로 다룬다. 뿐만 아니라 그는 사회적인 공간에 대해 다양한 현실적인 관점을 통해 질문을 던지며 환경 혹은 생태주의, 후기 사회주의 및 동시대현상에 따른 도심형성에 대해 탐구한다. 이러한 접근은 시적 구성주의 예를 들면 라틴계미국인들의 전통적인 조각품과 신 구상주의 곧 이야기를 기반으로 하는 정치적 사화적인 내용을 담고 있다. 이는 그가 본격적인 작품활동 전 당시 신문사에서 정치만화(cartoon)를 제작하는 만화작가로 활동했을 시 받은 영향을 나타낸다. 오르테가는 이와 같은 주제들을 통해 새로운 방식의 기법을 개발하고, 재료를 연구하며, 일상적 재료를 세분화시켜 그만의 새롭고 도전적 방식의 작품언어로 탈바꿈시킨다.
 
이번 국제갤러리 개인전 통해 국내에 처음 소개되는 오르테가의 <Reading Landscape>전에 참여되는 주요 작품들은 지질학에서 영감을 받았다. 참여작품들은 지구의 역사 예를 들면지각이 10여개의 거대한 판으로 구성되어 지각 위의 얼음덩어리와 같이 부유하고 있다는 지구물리학 이론인 판 구조론에서 영감을 받은 형상들을 묘사하기도 한다. 그와 연결된 일종의 조각작품으로는 유색의 덩어리들로 채워진 기둥 혹은 직육면체 조각들이 있으며, 이는 때때로 개별적인 입체의 덩어리들이 완전히 조합되지 않은 단순하면서도 추상적인 조각으로 선보여질 예정이다.

뿐만 아니라 갤러리 3관에 설치되는 대형 조각 작품은 각기 다른 재료들의 지층으로 형상된 구조를 연상시키는 개념적 조각작품으로서 콘크리트, 벽돌, 다양한 타일들과 같은 산업재료로 만들어져 있으며, 때때로 지층의 내부뿐만 아니라 외부로 일컬어지는 지면 위의 잔디를 연상시키는 지질의 표면 또한 함께 제작예정이다.
그 외에도 마치 지층의 단층을 연상시키는 듯한 페이퍼마쉐 (Papier Mâché) 곧 펄프에 아교를 섞어 만든 종이 재질을 이용한 작품은 다양한 물성과 재료에 따른 레이어들을 통해 감싸고, 덧씌우고, 색칠하며 입체조각을 형상해나가며 각기 다른 성질의 재료를 일종의 제스처로서 기록한다. 같은 맥락으로 보도자료에 첨부된 이미지 중 하나인 둥근 형상의 입체 <Esquema del mundo: Estratigrafías>는 마치 지구를 상징하는 듯 하며 지질의 층위를 통한 세계관을 의미하는 제목으로서 상당한 양의 다양한 재료들을 한 겹씩 겹쳐서 제작했고, 이 지난한 시간들은 마침내 잘려진 단면을 통해 수많은 재료들의 겹겹의 의도를 시각적이며 행위를 동반한 과정을 함축적으로 보여준다. 


작가소개 
다미안 오르테가는 1967년 멕시코 생으로 현재 멕시코 시티에서 거주 및 작업 중이다. 그의 어머니는 초등학교 교사였으며 아버지는 대학교내 극장의 배우였다. 그는 어릴 적부터 비교적 실험적이고 열린 교육을 받으며 유년기를 보냈다. 이후 그는 고등학교를 중단하고 신문사에서 정치만화를 그리는 만화작가로서 길을 걷게 된다. 80년대 말 당시 오르테가는 남미출신의 현대미술가 가브리엘 오르조크(Gabriel Orozco)와 프랜시스 앨리(Francis Alys)의 영향을 받았으며 한때 오로조크의 작업실에서 그의 프로젝트에 참여하기도 하였다. 그는 한동안 오로조크의 조각과 사진과 관련된 형식에 집중하기도 했으며 이후 보다 정제된 그만의 개념적이고 시각적인 탐구를 지속해왔다. 뿐만 아니라 그가 관심을 가져왔던 건축과 조각, 그리고 지형에 따른 공간분석 등의 주제들의 접점에 집중해왔다. 이후 그는 주요한 비영리 전시 공간인 아르테 44를 통해 본격적인 작업활동을 시작하였고 동시대의 새로운 멕시코 현대미술의 세대를 여는 주요한 작가로 왕성하게 활동 중이다.

대표 개인전으로는 2013년 런던의 플루이드 미술관의 <다미안 오르테가: The Blast and Other Embers>, 2011년 키아브에 소재한 핀척 아트센터의 <Tool Bit>, 2010년 런던의 바비칸 센터에서 <New Commission for The Curve>, 미국의 클리브랜드 미술관의 <The Beetle Trilogy and Other Works>, 로스앤젤레스 현대미술관과 레드켓 갤러리의 <다미안 오르테가: The Uncertainty Principal, Untitled Project Series> 등이 있으며,주요 그룹전시로는 지난해 열린 제 55회 베니스비엔날레, 뉴욕의 구겐하임 미술관, MoMA PS1, 상파울로 비엔날레, 상하이의 민생미술관 전시들이 있다.

주요 소장처 및 수상경력으로는 베를린의 함부르거 반호프 미술관의 주목 받는 젊은 미술인 선정 및 휴고보스 미술상 수상과 뉴욕의 메트로폴리탄 뮤지움, LA 현대미술관 등 유수의 기관에 작품이 소장되어있다. 
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