6 June 2013 - 1 September 2013Apestraction
The Freud Museum comes together with 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 sculptures, installations, videos, photographs and actions. Mundane objects feature prominently, from golf balls and pick-axes to bricks, rubbish bins and even tortillas – all subjected to what has been described as Ortega’s characteristic “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 Damían Ortega’s body of work. For him, the importance of objects lies in the ideas they generate and by which they are generated, as if the tool-using behaviour of these primates pre-figures the kind of concrete-magical thinking discussed by Freud in Totem and Taboo (1913). The Gashaka chimpanzees, like apes elsewhere, seem to have developed a culture of their own – blurring the traditional boundaries of human versus animal and culture versus nature. Damián Ortega aims to explore through his art how valid these binary concepts are in today’s world.