Objects & Things

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Ortega’s Cosmic Thing

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Damián Ortega
Cosmic Thing, 2002
Volkswagen Beetle 1983,
stainless steel wire, acrylic

Damián Ortega’s piece Cosmic Thing is particularly interesting object: it is work of art made from a canonical design artifact. Of course, there are innumerable such works of art. Beginning with Dada and continuing through the 20th Century design objects have repeatedly, and relentlessly, been transformed into works of art. Often this transformation from product to sculpture occurs by recontextualization — by placing the object in a gallery or museum. Jeff Koons’ sculptures are perhaps the most emblematic of this tactic (for example see New Hoover Convertibles, New Shelton Wet/Drys 5-Gallon, Double Decker).

But Cosmic Thing is a fundamentally different kind of sculpture than those of Koons. It does a different kind of work: it reveals the object-ness of its subject. In Cosmic Thing, the classic VW Bug is presented to us not in its iconic form, but as an exploded view of its parts, each of which becomes an object in its own right for our consideration.

In a poetic way, it calls to mind Harman‘s phrase ““…the object is torn asunder from itself in two directions.”

More on Ortega’s work can be found here:


Written by cdisalvo

February 1, 2010 at 4:02 am

Posted in art

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