Damián Ortega - Latin America New York Thursday, May 23, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Kurimanzutto, Mexico City
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Damián Ortega's work explores themes of mass consumption and aesthetics in contemporary Mexican culture. He is among the leading artists of a generation that has emerged from the trailblazing influence of Francis Alÿs and Gabriel Orozco. Ortega began his career as a political cartoonist, making social commentary on everyday objects and practices. One of his most iconic and powerful works, Cosmic Thing (2002), is a fully deconstructed Volkswagen Beetle recomposed and hung piece by piece, suspended in the air through the use of wires. The work's configuration is dictated by the mechanic's instruction manual creating a striking installation that recalls the essence of the car in our physical space. In doing so, Ortega comments on how the Beetle became a ubiquitous presence in Mexico City, even though it originated as the people's car in Nazi Germany.

    The present lot, Auto construcción, caja de velocidades (2005), is comprised of 32 cast concrete elements in the shape of automobile parts. Emerging from a similar conceptual vein as Cosmic Thing, Auto construcción proposes another perspective on the industrial aspects of our lives by focusing on the aesthetic qualities of the automobile parts, rather than on their functionality. The result is a new spatial relationship that demystifies these industrial structures and brings them into the realm of art. Ortega's work dismantles and reconstructs machines and habitual processes, creating a sense of continuity between the visible components of inanimate machines and the invisible aura that constitutes the object’s presence in our lives. The work presents an analysis of the industrial processes of the post-modern era, and how our visual world has been forever altered by our mass production and consumption.



Auto construcción, caja de velocidades

cast concrete, in 32 parts
dimensions variable; approximately 6 x 90 x 76 in. (15.2 x 228.6 x 193 cm.)
This work is number 3 from an edition of 5 plus one artist's proof. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $100,000

Contact Specialist
Henry Allsopp
Worldwide Director, Latin American Art
+ 1 212 940 1216

Latin America

New York 23 May 2013 4pm