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Damián Ortega's first solo exhibition in Sweden opens at Malmö Konsthall
Damián Ortega, Pico cansado, 1997. Installation view. Casino, Malmö Konsthall 2016. Photo: Helene Toresdotter.

MALMO.- Emerging internationally midway through the 1990s, today Damián Ortega is considered one of the most interesting contemporary artists. His poetics focus on the exploration and use of everyday objects, the functions and meanings of which he subverts with subtle, personal irony. His artistic practices experiment with different languages and mediums ranging from installations to photography, from moving images to performance, and concentrate on projects and interventions that involve multiple shapes and sizes: exploded and deconstructed, his works investigate the fundamental forms of sculpture, their relationship with the surrounding space and the transformational processes of material.

Ortega is among the main protagonists of the renewal of contemporary Mexican art, born during the last two decades of the twentieth century in response to social and political disillusionment that swept through the country and its artistic traditions, characterized by an emphasis on national identity. The artist’s work captures a universe of references from the twentieth-century history of art and popular culture into essential forms with an immediate visual impact. His oeuvre expresses a variety of references: from engravings by José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913, the precursor to Mexican mural paintings) to Mexican B-movies, to historical avant-gardes from the early 1900s and reflections on objects developed by Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968), to Led Zeppelin’s music, extreme performances by Chris Burden (1946–2015) and investigations into material conducted by Robert Smithson (1938–1973).

Damián Ortega’s first solo show in Sweden, Casino presents a broad perspective on the artist’s work through sculpture, installations and film from the early 1990s to recent works.

The show includes twenty-four works of art, ranging from small to large scale, which creates an interesting dialogue with Malmö Konsthall architectural exhibition space. At the centre of the exhib- ition visitors find The Beetle Trilogy: an “epic” work that focuses on a Volkswagen Beetle, among the most iconic automobiles of the modern era.

Material and energy, accelerations and dispersions, explosions and implosions of everyday forms and objects come together into the exhibition space creating a dynamic and vital whole in which time, actions and sounds overlap and interact with one another.

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