Pointillism Revisited

A friend introduced me to the work of Damian Ortega. Ortega’s installations are fascinating. In his 2002 installation Cosmic Thing, he took apart a Volkswagen and re-assembled it piece by piece by suspending it in mid-air. Similarly in other installations, Ortega plays with the idea of transition. You do not know whether the object is being created or destroyed.
Ortega likes to deconstruct objects and then reconstruct them to explore the relationship between the internal and the external space. There is stillness, yet an overwhelming sense of movement and suspense in his installations. As if he has been able to freeze the object in time just before something significant is about to happen.
Cosmic Thing reminded me a lot of pointillism. In it Ortega plays with the light, reinterpreting the object by letting light slip through between the internal space of the object. Just the way artists Seurat and Signac played with light and created images from dots by the process of partitive mixing of colours. Yet, Ortega takes his installations beyond craft and flirts with the viewer without giving away much. He started as a political cartoonist in Mexico and his retains his work retains a sense of playfulness.


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