Anyone who’s spent time with Luis Felipe Ortega’s videos knows that behind his images lie fragmented, intimate stories imbued with a complex sense of extended spatial time. PoetTomás Segovia might have described that sense already: “Nothing, when in its place, is ugly / So self-assured, this light / comes in through the window / To sanction this place and how it is arranged / so unabashedly entrenched. / And, in my silence / I let myself be blessed by the joy / Admiring with no residue / the place and time of things / Rather than things in themselves.”
In this exhibition, “Anotaciones para una inclusión del silencio (Notes for the Inclusion of Silence),” Ortega sets aside the cinematographic references he typically embraces to explore movement as pure content; he reveals in the process the considerable gifts that all good artists keep in their reserves.
Nearly all of the first room is occupied by a strikingly large cube covered with graphite scribbles—seemingly a comment on drawing as an action/medium that fosters painting. Ortega recently produced another drawing that similarly overtakes its entire site, at the Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico: relentless strokes of pure graphite that completely cover up the walls that enclose the space (a house built in the eighteenth century and used as a studio in the 1910s by Joaquín Clausell), occupying the cube from its interior. Here, the process of the drawing is upended.
Ortega’s show subtly offers up gifts of unexpected profundity and temporal depth—gifts that endure the unrelenting passage of time. Ink and graphite drawings in a variety of formats suggest basic geometries, showing that the artist is just as empathetic and clever in his treatment of empty space as he is persistent at inventing/discovering, amid those myriad traces within each stroke, almost invisible volumes—indeed, even movement.
Translated from Spanish by Jane Brodie