Machines Expand to Become Art
Before he dabbled in art, Berlin-based and Mexico-City-born artist Damián Ortega drew political cartoons for Mexican magazines and newspapers, which is evident in his work’s wry but playful sense of humor.
Ortega aims to take familiar objects with modern cultural relevance and reinterpret them into new forms or contexts, imbibing them with an element of the surreal, thus endowing viewers with a new perspective on the normally common or mundane. Often, this path involves working with machines like cars, bikes, scooters, and semi-trucks.
Ortega’s breakthrough piece was 2002’s “Cosmic Thing”, a kind of life-size and three-dimensional cutaway of a 1989 VW Beetle—think Mercedes’ 2011 GP car installation, but much, much slower. Other work by Ortega of special interest to the gearhead include “Miracolo Italiano”, a 2005 piece involving several Vespas, and 2009’s “Materialista”, similar to “Cosmic Thing” but with a Freightliner truck as its subject.
Here we’ve collected a few photos of Ortega’s work, including all pieces mentioned above and a few others as well.