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Museum Exhibition

Damián Ortega at The Freud Museum, London


6 June - 1 September 2013

The Freud Museum comes together with the University College London´s Gashaka Primate Project to present 'Apestraction', a solo exhibition of works by Mexican artist Damián Ortega.

Ortega is well known for his practice, that ranges from sculptures, installations, videos, photographs and actions inspired by a wide range of mundane objects, from golf balls and pick-axes to bricks, rubbish bins and even tortillas, all subjected to what has been described as Ortega’s characteristically 'mischievous process of transformation and dysfunction.

The artist was invited to visit the Gashaka region in Nigeria: one of the last remaining wildernesses in West Africa, where the rarest subspecies of chimpanzees survives and where the Gashaka Primate Project has its base. By taking an artist to the wilderness, bridges and boundaries between Art and Science are instinctively created. This exhibition explores these divisions and their transgressions through the work of Ortega. Unlike a dissecting and objectifying scientist, an artist will be able to contextualize the sensitivities of our natural and cultural side in a more nuanced, private and subjectified way – thus honouring Freud’s idea that our psyche is at the heart of our existence.

The rawness of materials, the attention to simple details of everyday life and the sensitive use of matter, are all features that add a central layer of significance to Damián Ortega’s body of work. Ortega is interested in the slow, articulated succession of things and situations where something generates something else resembling a large organism of communication. For him the importance of objects lies in the ideas they generate. The Gashaka chimpanzees, like apes elsewhere, seem to have developed a culture of their own - blurring the traditional Freudian boundaries of human versus animal as well as culture versus nature. Damián Ortega aims to explore through his art how valid these binary concepts are in today’s world.

This exhibition is curated by Luiza Teixeira de Freitas. The project is a collaboration between the curator, biologist Gonçalo Jesus and Volker Sommer, founder of the Gashaka Primate Project and Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at University College London. 

As part of this collaboration a series of performances will take place at the St. Elisabeth Kirche in Berlin from the 19-21 September 2013.


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