The Showroom

Antonio Ortega: Antonio Ortega and the Contestants


2 October – 10 November 2002

Preview: Tuesday 1 October 2002, 7pm

Antonio Ortega comes from a generation of young Spanish artists that adopt a self-effacing and ultimately hilarious approach to making art. Their work is full of doubt, acknowledging the complexity of art's production and role within society. In the past, Ortega's practice has explored these ideas using plants and animals as his medium, the results take the form of installation and video work.

For his first solo show in London Antonio Ortega chose to subvert the way that The Showroom worked (offering first solo shows in London), by inviting a group of recent graduates from the art academy in Barcelona to participate in the project with him (Mireia Guzmán, Rubén Martínez, Jonathan Millán, Esther Badia and Albert Tarès). The Showroom's offer was turned into a magnanimous gesture on the part of Antonio, creating an otherwise unattainable opportunity for the young artists. Their work was judged not only against their peer group, but also within a wider art world context. Billed as the Contestants, this group made their own artistic contributions to the show. Antonio Ortega and the Contestants explored ideas of creativity, the authorial voice, promotional strategies and the competitive and hierarchical nature of the art world.

Project supported by Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament de Cultura.

Antonio Ortega lives and works in Barcelona.

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    Event Gallery talk by Antonio Ortega