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damián ortega, labor day, kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2021

damián ortega, labor day, kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2021

jornada laboral

Damián Ortega presents Labor day in Siembra 20, a set of works that were born from the continuous exercise of self observation that confinement meant for him. This pause led the artist to reconsider the modes of production of work and to seek solutions that would allow him to dispense with mechanical technology and work more from the domestic environment than in the workshop. In this search, which resulted in an introspective and cathartic game through manual work and self-representation, he began to use residual materials and objects of daily use. He created a body of playful, energetic and intriguing work in which traditional or manual techniques are mixed with organic elements and animal representations.

A series of embroidered works in which the artist reproduced covers of the newspaper La Jornada stretches along three walls. For Ortega, embroidery is an intimate, daily and silent activity, in which the mechanical movement of the hands generates a close relationship between the digital, or the manual, and the passage of time. He plays with embroidery as a graphic record of a day's work, while fixing and highlighting a specific event of the day it was created. With this series he explores a medium that combines relief with drawing and ventures into figurative representation. Through the process of appropriating an event, penetrating the canvas and translating an image into it in a capricious but at the same time methodical way, Damián Ortega generates material records that, placed next to each other, create a new visual and tactile narrative about the events depicted in the newspaper. Likewise, he addresses a personal concern about the omnipresence of the news in everyday life that accentuated in 2020.

In parallel, Damián presents a series of characters made from scraps of cloth and leather, organic elements, discarded materials and everyday objects, which materializes fears, conflicts or perversions that peeked during this period of self-observation. The two-dimensionality, delicacy and methodicality of the embroidery contrasts with the expressiveness and eloquence of this series of zoomorphic masks or sculptures whose nature is innocent and playful, but at the same time monstrous and somber.

This body of work is the result of an investigation with textiles that Ortega has carried out for many years, as well as the artist's curiosity about the tension that is generated between the notions of the natural and the cultural when manipulating the material. He also points to the dynamics of consumption and waste that are involved in the production of art and proposes an ecology of art in which the process does not end with the work, but rather the waste continues to impose itself on subsequent creation processes.

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