Lucy & Jorge ORTA

Valérie Bach
Nov 19, 2014 10:52AM
Exhibition from 07.11.2014 to 20.12.2014 

Since 1996, Lucy & Jorge Orta are interested in problems of food production, food waste and the policy of low cost leading to the over-industrialization of food at the expense of biodiversity, local cultures and markets. They show this interest in particular through the prism of public dinners : 70 x 7 the Meal, which was initiated in 2000. This performance was presented at the gallery as part of the group exhibition Je hais les couples, curated by Jeanne Susplugas et Alain Declercq, in September 2013. Every meal is the starting point for meetings and discussions on social, environmental or political problems. They created relational artworks in the form of Royal Limoges porcelain plates and table runners for each of them, to mark the singularity. 

Similarly, l'Epicerie, a wall sculpture taking the form of a mini-supermarket, with products stripped from their packaging, and Grainothèque, consisting of drawings of seeds, pollen and tubers suggesting the fragility of the species around us, question the different ways that could allow improvement of the international organization of the food system for the benefit of the population and the planet.

Lucy and Jorge Orta have also addressed the topic of global water scarcity and problems with access to clean water and privatization. The sculptures entitled Enfants de la Villette represent « spirits » that relate to the theme of water through their postures and the objects associated with them. They echo the series of sculptures Spirits of the Huveaune, presented by the gallery at Art Brussels 2014. These permanent sculptures are installed along the river Huveaune in the South-East of France and have been inspired by historical texts, legends and stories that recount the feminine presence associated with the river, and the foundation of the city of Marseille. 

On the same theme, the Clouds series show the evocation of the multiple meanings of a cloud, which establishes a correlation between recycling and water scarcity, its unequal distribution in the world and its privatization, symbolised by plastic bottles that the artists have collected and transformed into sculptural forms. Generators of pollution, the bottles also give rise to parallel economies in entire cities, where thousands of people survive on waste recovery. Again, Lucy + Jorge Orta raise the question of the role of art and its ability to mobilize the community. 

« Our creative process is similar to the branches of a tree growing in different directions. The trunk represents our conceptual approach and our questions: How can art give a greater visibility to the growing problems of the world? Is it possible to combine aesthetics and function? What can art bring to stimulate alternative actions, regarding water, migration, biodiversity, climate change, organ donation and other areas? The multiple branches embody the development of themes that we explore and deepen gradually, as they grow and branch. The buried roots, these deep rhizomes, founded the interdisciplinary reflection that embodies the approach. The metaphor of the tree seems efficient - the news of our world is not linear -, it is a set of interactions that feed on each other in an inseparable complexity. Through the works (performances, installations, interventions) and the process that we use to develop each theme (workshops, seminars, co-creations), we hope to gradually bring hot topics to the attention of a wider audience. »

Valérie Bach