Controller Of The Universe, 2007
Damián Ortega’s Controller of the Universe is a frozen explosion of hand tools hovering in an almost dreamlike state. These saws, planes, and axes suggest alternative ways to look at tools, in the hope that the experience will transform the visitor’s own ideas about what tools are and mean. Tools can destroy as easily as they can help construct. They extend our body’s abilities and come between us and our direct experience of the action. Ortega explores such dualities in Controller of the Universe. The installation appears threatening at its perimeter, but by way of a cruciform path the artist invites the visitor to experience the optimal viewpoint at the center. The placement of the piece in the exhibition—on axis with "live" images of a pulsating Sun that is part of a separate installation—underscores this perceived control of our universe, while the distant ball of fire reminds us so potently that this is far from the truth. We can tame it at times, use it to help us survive and endure and to enhance our lives in many ways, but we will never control it—even with a world of tools at our fingertips.
It is credited
Collection of Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, New York, Courtesy of the FLAG Art Foundation.
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Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 285 x 406 x 455 cm (9 ft. 4 in. x 13 ft. 4 in. x 14 ft. 11 in.)
Artist Damián Ortega speaks about his piece, Controller of the Universe.
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.