Damián Ortega’s installation at the Centre Pompidou, Field of Vision/Champ de vision reminds me of a playground. Despite the signs prohibiting physical touch, this viewer wanted to dive through the delicately and purposefully strung lines of plastic discs. Perhaps it was the kid inside me who likes to break rules, or just the inspiration of broken space, but there is something too perfect about the set-up that begs a little messing with. Ortega’s installation looks to be made from inexpensive material - plastic; the colors recall the eyeglasses one wears inside a three-d movie. A plethora of two plastic discs were made to intersect one another, and then were carefully strung on something like fishing line, then anchored to metal rung-like brackets attached to the floor and ceiling. The result: a cascade of plastic circles strictly spaced and brightly colored either in red, blue, yellow or (not so brightly) black.
When one enters the installation, one is directed by signs how exactly to move throughout the space. (Annoyance number one.) In spending time looking at the installation, one notes how the discs twirl every so slightly, and from one bracket to the next, the discs gradually become smaller and the length of line they hang from shorter. One gets the feeling that there is definitely some sort of optical illusion going on, and the taunting question is, "Can you figure it out?" It was like being caught in a real, live SAT-type analytical problem (I don’t know about you, but I was not fond of those types of tests. Annoyance number two.) Having turned out to be a well-heeled adult, I did not give into the almost overwhelming urge to break through the drippy walls of plastic discs, and instead meekly went to the far wall to the peep-hole, as directed. There, I saw Ortega’s anti-climax: all the discs, together, outline an eye. The eye of the beholder, so to speak, staring back at me.
--Kate C. Lemay
(*Images, from top to bottom: Damián Ortega, Champ de vision, 12 November, 2008 - 9 February, 2009; Centre Pompidou, Espace 315, Installation view, © photos Georges Meguerditchian, Centre Pompidou, 2008. Damián Ortega, Champ de vision, 12 November, 2008 - 9 February, 2009; Centre Pompidou, Espace 315, Installation view, © photos Jean-Claude Planchet, Centre Pompidou, 2008. Damián Ortega, Champ de vision, 12 November, 2008 - 9 February, 2009; Centre Pompidou, Espace 315, Installation view, © photos Georges Meguerditchian, Centre Pompidou, 2008.)