Damián Ortega (born 1967 in Mexico City, Mexico; lives and works in Mexico City and Berlin, Germany).
Leather, thread, tattoo ink, graphite on paper, and board; display dimensions variable.
“Ortega’s Skin works belong to a series of sculptures based on modernist residential architecture. Using natural cow leather, he has replicated floor plans of apartments in the Przyczolek Grochowski Estate in Warsaw by Oskar Hansen, Mexico City’s Urban Center President Alemán by architect Mario Pani, and Le Corbusier’s L’Unité d’Habitation in Berlin. The resulting cut-outs are installed as soft hanging sculptures. These residential projects were conceived to replace existing ineffective metropolitan housing with linear, egalitarian structures. Ortega’s malleable figures focus on the formal qualities of the buildings rather than their functional and social aspects and offer a gentle critique of modernism’s promise to transform human settlement”
—”Skin: L’Unité D’Habitation à Berlin, 1956-1958, Le Corbusier, Berlin, Germany,” display caption, Tate, April 2008.
“In ‘Skin’ (2006-2007), he had saddle makers replicate public-housing floor plans by Le Corbusier, Oskar Hansen, and Mario Pani, whose Centre Urbano Presidente Alemán, built in 1949, was Latin America’s first social-housing project. The hides were hung from the ceiling with meat hooks.”
—Emily Gogolak, “A Visit with Damián Ortega,” The New Yorker, November 7, 2014.