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Cleveland Museum of Art presents Damián Ortega: The Blast and Other Embers
Controller of the Universe, 2007. Damián Ortega (Mexican, b. 1967). Found tools and wire; 285 x 405 x 455 cm. © Damián Ortega, Courtesy White Cube. Photo: Stephen White.

CLEVELAND, OH.- The Cleveland Museum of Art presents Damián Ortega: The Blast and Other Embers, a solo exhibition by leading contemporary artist Damián Ortega. The exhibition features Ortega’s innovative and powerful works Controller of the Universe (2007) and Tool Bones, a series of six plaster sculptures created specifically for this exhibition. Damián Ortega: The Blast and Other Embers is the third contemporary exhibition in the museum’s east wing glass box gallery rotations, and will be on view through Sunday, September 29, 2013.

“The new Tool Bones series by Damián Ortega relate in a very thoughtful, but nonetheless playful way to Controller of the Universe – both works stand for the artist’s continual interest in making use of the world of everyday objects and materials to make statements on a metaphorical level about systems and functional correlations,” said Reto Thüring, associate curator of Contemporary Art.

The central work, Controller of the Universe, is comprised of hundreds of tools, including saws, rakes and hammers, suspended from the ceiling and carefully arranged at various heights, creating an orchestrated explosion gravitating outwards from an invisible center. It captures an impossible, absolute fragile moment in which the human being attempts, successfully or unsuccessfully, to gain control of the world with the help of tools. In the exhibition, visitors will have a chance to walk in and around this engaging and dynamic sculpture.

Ortega’s new series, Tool Bones, will make its world debut at the exhibition. Each of the six works is comprised of interlaced tools, which are covered with fabric and white plaster, giving them an almost skeletal look. The organic-abstract forms invite close looking and locate mankind at the end of a fictional civilization movement.

Damián Ortega (Mexico City, Mexico, 1967) is the leading Mexican artist of the generation that emerged in the wake of the influence of Gabriel Orozco. Ortega, a former cartoonist, finds a playful use of everyday objects like piles of bricks, tortillas, fruits and vegetables and turns them into installations that mischievously, often ironically, challenge human perception and conception. He first caught the world’s attention at the Venice Biennale in 2003 with Cosmic Thing, where a Mexican cultural icon, the Volkswagen Beetle, was dismantled and suspended from the ceiling. His works have been exhibited at institutions all over the world such as Kunsthallle Basel (Switzerland), the DAAD Gallery (Germany), Centre Pompidou (France) and Tate Modern (UK), among others. After a long residency in Berlin, he currently resides and works in Mexico City.

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