Work in progress
Orange car, orange peel
 Work in progress

All the containers ive used for white paint during a year in the studio.




Sandy, America



Air (contained, contained again)
Bubble wrap, Plastic bag



the sensibility is physical rather than aural. The authority has shifted from one sense to another and the authority is now physical; a dominating presence.


Damian Ortega, Nudo 04, 2011

Damian Ortega, Stone, 2012


Damian Ortega uses salt as a material in his exhibition Traces of Gravity at White Cube.

Ortega uses salt in many of the works in this exhibition as a material of preservation, with ancient values and historical purpose.
I really liked the way in which the object(s) in the show felt as if they were somewhat temporary, but had been preserved for a specific reason, maybe as an artwork, or for the consideration of historical and political punctuation points within Ortega’s visual language. Ortega often weaves notions of temporality and physicality with political and historical facts and the works in this exhibition are of no exception. Here in this exhibition we are confronted by Hollow/Stuffed: Market Law, a submarine-like structure suspended from the ceiling in a dimly lit room. The hanging structure, which fills the space is constructed from second hand, food sacks, filled with salt, and hung at an angle. The tilted angle gives the impression that the submarine is diving, or crashing:  a small hole at the nose of the submarine provided an ever increasing pile of salt on the gallery floor. From a continuous stream of white grains, a conical pyramid is created.

Several notions are apparent within this work, not least the most significant, that however sophisticated a structure may seem, it can always be subject to smallest deficiencies. It is clear that after time, and as the salt drains, the suspended submarine will become deflated, and it will become void; lifeless. The strong political narratives become even more poignant as we start to be reminded of acts of greed, corruption and vulnerability of day -to -day life. This notion is surely routed in the global economic climate as well as the increasing international drug trade. The reference to cocaine distribution by sea travel is fully embedded within this work. I myself, have affection towards the peaceful water-like stream of the falling salt, and its juxtaposition to the worrying feeling that time is running out, like a sand timer, its inevitable the end is near.

Two other works sit in the adjacent room; again the lighting is of importance, especially relating to the work Preserved, a fallen bicycle creating its own image on the floor by an overhead spot light. This work and Petrified both deal with photography and its ability to freeze an image. Ortega has traced the outline of the bicycle with salt, as to preserve (as the title suggests) its negative image. The remnants of what was, or what might have been are immediate questions and the work Petrified only validates these, as Ortega has rendered his own collection of studio cameras in stone, presenting an archive of historical photographic equipment. A comment on the digital age is apparent, but specifically in relation to our use and participation in monetary events and the use of replicated imagery and its dissemination within modern culture, and are efforts to preserve these moments. The concrete casts of cameras from different historical ages (including the latest model of the iPhone) sit on a smart, crisp white plinth like museum relics. Ortega has created the camera's own images in stone, a clever and somewhat ironic formulation. Here, along with the use of salt in Persevered we are reminded of the contrasting ways in which image can be preserved and made permanent. The apparent contrast of the malleable nature of salt, and its ability to get into crevices and preserve every section of a material to the strong, bold, and robust nature of traditional casting methods, in this case stone. Here, Ortega has petrified the cameras.

On the main floor of the gallery, we are faced with a less poignant work, Congo River, a selection of used tires, which occupy the gallery floor, on which Ortega has drawn a line down the centre in salt. The use of salt as a preservation tool is less obvious, but its use as a symbol for cocaine is by far at the forefront. The overwhelming sense was visual, and my attention was firmly occupied by the contrasting materials, from the chemical rubber, and its unmistakable scent, to the delicate, almost cotton- like line of salt which naturally fell into the contours of the tires. Travel and the sense of journey, albeit obvious, was another narrative, that like Hollow/Stuffed: Market Law felt temporary and has a certain inevitable sadness to it. The tires weren’t turning and the salt wasn’t pouring. Tires, being an overly consumed and easily discarded material made the work feel political, but with heart, and therefore emotion. However, compared to the other works, this didn’t display the sense of visual assault like the other works, and here, Ortega missed the mark.


Studio 8 Aug 2012

Studio 8 Aug 2012

Studio 8 Aug 2012


Tom Dale, Ball With Wheel, 2005


Richard Wentworth, ‘Siege’ 1983-4
Richard Wentworth, Seige, 1983-4

Hans Haacke, Condensation Cube, 1936 - 2008
Liliana Porter, ‘Forced Labor II’ 2004
Liliana Porter, Forced Labour II, 2004


Invisible - Art about the Unseen.
The Hayward Gallery

Art & Language
Terry Atkinson, b. 1939, Yorkshire, UK
Michael Baldwn, b. 1945, Oxfordshire, UK

The Air-Conditioning Show, 1966 - 67.

The Air- Conditioning Show consists of an empty air-conditioned room and Frameworks, as series of legnthy and speculative texts that question the prevailing conventions for exhibiting art. The air-conditioning was intended to keep the gallery at a constant temperature that would contribute to the 'abnormal normality (a kind of ultra-usualness)' of the exhibition space.

Teresa Margolles b. 1963, Caliacan/Sinaloa, Mexico

Aire/Air, 2003

Teresa Margolles's art us an act of memorial. Working with death as her material, she focuses not on the dead themselves but on the physical traces of death. She uses these to speak about inequality and social injustice, and the narcotics trade in a country where drug cartels and law enforcement agencies are the complicit in forging an atmosphere of extreme vilence and fear. Visitors entering Aire/Air (2003), find a room that is empty, apart from air-conditioning units. But the slightly humid atmosphere is haunted; the air is cooled by water from public mortuaries in Mexico City that was used to wash the bodies of unidentified murder victims prior to autopsy.


Bermondsey Street 13-6-12