At the crossroads of time

Anthony Wright
Mexico City Times, Arts and Leisure
March 11, 1997
Related exhibition

The white-walled art space Art & Idea run by Austrian Robert Punkenhoffer and German OliverGierlichs was packed to the rafters with scene- stealingtrendies and local personalities during the recent inauguration of Luis Felipe Ortega’s installation show- Campo de Acción.The cuba libre-swilling crowd almost had the effect of outshining the art on display: many had come to party and the work itself is of a rather minimalist, ambiguous nature.
Ortega has exhibited in the past in a number of group video installation shows in countries such as France and Belgium and with a local “cutting edge” contemporary movements such as La Panadería and Temistocles 44 but this is his first solo exposition. The success of Campo de Acción will depend, however, on the respose –not to mention comprehension- of the viewers/participants. 
Campo de Acción contains a purposeful rearragerement of the laws of time. It seeks to subvert time. 
The works consist of message-text  planted in long lines across the walls and augmented by large painting –form  arragements of small photographs; depicting the actions of a person waiting  (drinking  a cup of coffee) or moving (catching a train or watching traffic go by, for example).
The centerpiece of the show is a TV monitor playing back a video- called Intersección- of a man walking along trains tracks, waiting at a Metrostation, catching a train.
“The show presents various states of transition, “said the 30 year old artist.
“There is a sence of movement or individual characters moving between or waiting at acrossroads”.
Within this framework a slightly obtuse statement seems to be made about existence- but unlike the occasional brute frankness of previous experimental show conducted by Art & Idea, this current exposition challenges viewers to draw their own conclusions.
The literaty quality of the installation is augmented by Ortega being also a writer, with a degree in a philosophy from the National Autonomous University (UNAM).
“ All my writings deal with philosophical aspects of life, and it is the first sort of material to map the direction of the art,” Ortega said. “Course of Action contains  two directions: one, the objects, photographs, videos- installations contained within the space; two, questions relating to mu course of action in writing and philosophy. They all point to he language of communication”.
This temporary autonomous to ne of reflection has also been referred to as a “laboratory” wherein the viewer may consider the alchemies that words and images create when united on the wall.
Yet at times the philosophical components of the show weigh down on the viewer.
The purpose seems clear enough, but Ortega leaves an actual “course of action”, somewhat in the air; and the essence of a crossroads is wavering and surreal.
Concrete action may be devised, but it receives its signal from a course set in dreams.

Luis Felipe Ortega’s Campo de Acción runs until April 4, Art& Idea is located on Isabel la Católica 5-1 Centro Histórico.  Open 6-9 p.m. Wednesday.