It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the third exhibition of Antonio Ortega at Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman.

“When I began to paint this series of canvases featuring a pair of stones, I did so because I did not know what to paint, or what there might be to paint: so wretched a start could lead to nothing meaningful. As time went on, however, I observed that these betrayed nothing of the self destructive motivation that laid behind them. Those stones make no statement, they don’t evoke feelings but associations. It is really neither visible nor invisible, its inconspicuousness gives them the capacity to make, in an illusionistic way, ‘nothing’ visible. To me, these paintings are the equivalent for indifference, noncommitment, absence of opinion and absence of shape. For remaining indecisive, silent and desperate. That is, for states of being and situations that affect us and for which we would like to find a visual expression.” Antonio Ortega

From 2022, Ortega will return to painting after ten years solely working conceptually. The exhibition L’Angélus is the first presentation of the series of canvases depicting a pair of stones. The composition refers to Dalí’s painting Archaeological Reminiscence of Millet’s “Angelus” (Réminiscence archéologique de l'”Angélus” de Millet) from 1934, which is itself a reference to Jean-Francois Millet’s L’Angelus from 1859. Hence the work spans 165 years of art history. For Ortega, stones function as pareidolia.*
*Objects that – as with clouds – are interpreted by the viewers themselves by consciously or unconsciously discovering things or supposed faces in them.

Antonio Ortega (born 1968 in Sant Celoni, ESP) lives and works in Barcelona. Since 2008 he is teaching at Escola Massana in Barcelona and working together with Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman.
Ortega began his artistic activity in the field of installation and the expanded performance by developing projects such as El Arte Doméstico (La Capella, Barcelona, 1999), Registro de Bondad (Sala Montcada, Barcelona, 2000) Antonio Ortega and The Contestants (The Showroom, London, 2002), Opfer sind wir alle (Museum Abteiberg Mönchengladbach, 2003) or Faith and enthusiasm (Espai 13, Barcelona, 2004). More recent examples from his artistic activity focused on the installation are the plinth installed throughout the second floor of the Macba Barcelona Attempt to gloss over the concept of demagoguery, 2014; his ozone generator that built a space of 1047 m3 d’air purifié, 2017 for the Louvain la Neuve Biennial or the permanent installation in the dome of the MNAC Mà parallamps, 2022.
Since 2007, he focused his production on writing by, initially, exploring the performative conference and experimental theater in I hope Alice Cooper does not become a vegetarian (SMOCA, Phoenix AZ, 2007) or The Best Ten Tips Ever, In Alphabetical Order (Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp, 2009). Bielbooks published his first book Demagogy and propaganda in art according to Antonio Ortega (2013). He curated the exhibition Self-Organization (Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, 2017), which was accompanied with the publication of an essay of the same title. He has recently presented The Lesson of Johanna Van Gogh (2021) published by Como Ediciones centered on the defense of operating in the art system according to an amateur perspective. From the year 2022 his work consists on a return to painting.

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