Alias, Damian Ortega’s publishing project

A meaning of the Spanish word alias, now in disuse, but the one we prefer, is “differently” (“de otro modo”). Alias publishes books differently, with a style and form all its own. We propose an alternative publishing mode: by copying the original or adapting to it, Alias detaches the text from its origins and places it in a new context. Alias is the twin book, the “alias book”.

This publishing initiative seeks to highlight the virtues of the alias, or nickname, because the alias is often times more accurate and adequate than the given name. This alternative ‘naming’ usually holds a closer relationship to the physicality, the personality and the work of the “renamed”. More than a second name, the alias is the other name: it’s the one that friends bestow. It’s the name that in time acquires a life of its own and nourishes an identity unlike the one assigned by the birth certificate, the official or legal one.

Alias Publishing Project’s purpose is to spread the work and ideas of authors who are particularly significant to contemporary art. Creations that, for reasons and circumstances we cannot enter into in this space, have not been translated, published or disseminated in the Spanish-speaking world. Or, if published, then are either out of print or were never distributed in Mexico.

Damián Ortega (Mexico City, 1967)

Damián Ortega’s work explores specific economic, aesthetic and cultural situations and in particular how regional culture affects commodity consumption. 

He began his career as a political cartoonist and his art has the intellectual rigour and sense of playfulness often associated with his previous occupation. He creates sculptures, installations, videos and actions inspired by a wide range of mundane objects, from golf balls and pick-axes to bricks, rubbish bins and even tortillas, all subjected to what has been described as Ortega’s characteristically “mischievous process of transformation and dysfunction”.

His main exhibitions are: Damián Ortega: Do It Yourself, ICA Boston (2009); Damián Ortega, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2008); Damián Ortega: The Beetle Trilogy And Other Works, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; USA; The Uncertainty Principle. UNTITLED Project Series, TateModern, London, England (2005); Damián Ortega, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2004) and Cosmic Thing, ICA Philadelphia (2002).

He has participated in various group shows such as: Escultura Social: a new generation of Art from México d.f., Museum of contemporary art, Chicago (2007); São Paulo Biennial 27, Brasil (2006); Made in Mexico, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Museo Serralves de Oporto, Portugal, P.S.1., New York (2004); Il Quotidiano Alterato, Venecia Biennial (2003). He inaugurated a public sculpture Obelisco transportable, with the Public Art Found at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park, New York (2007). In 2006, he obtains the resdency to the program DAAD in Berlin. He lives and works in Berlin and Mexico City.