Damian Ortega’s ‘States of Time’ at the Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh

The ‘States of Time’ exhibition by the Mexican artist Damian Ortega at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh runs until 23 October 2016.

All the work featured was created specifically for the ‘States of Time’ exhibition, which focuses on the interaction of the forces of nature and the earth. Most of the work was made using clay.

I wasn’t that keen on the first piece I saw ‘Broken Sac’. It was like one boulder surrounded by smaller stones.  I later read that the work was inspired by a crab on a beach making a home by digging out small balls of sand from a larger mass.


The five sculptures in ‘Eroded Valley’, depicting river erosion in a plain, were more appealing to me.



‘Eroded Valley’ reminded me of ‘Bed’ by Antony Gormley, which I’d see at Tate Britain in London. The bed in Gormley’s work from 1980-81 was created with 8,640 slices of white bread which he dried and tipped in paraffin wax.


In a small room off the main exhibition space on the ground of the Fruitmarket Gallery, there were three sculptures hanging from the ceiling. I thought of them as a cross between mobiles (defined as decorative hanging sculpture suspended so that it can move freely in the air), and unevenly beaded door curtains.



There was another set of mobiles/beaded curtains hanging above the stairs to the first floor. In the video about the exhibition Ortego likened this installation to clouds, entitling it ‘Altocumulus’.


A large display cabinet housed ‘Abrasive Objects’. a variety of clay models of tools.


The clay used in ‘Icebergs’ had been painted and glazed.



I thought that ‘Lava Waves’ evoked a feeling of movement and unleashed energy.



If you’re in central Edinburgh before 24 October 2016, I recommend that you pop into the Fruitmarket Gallery to see ‘States of Time’ by Damian Ortega. It’s free to enter. The gallery is open seven days a week from 11am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, and noon to 5pm on Sunday.