For their second solo-show at the Galerie Valérie Bach, artists Lucy + Jorge Orta present two series of works, brought together for the first time, uniting three-dimensional works with paintings in order to shed light on their creative process.
The first section of the exhibition is based on the cell: the cell of life, the residential cell, the prison cell, etc.
Forms and volumes made of hand-blown glass represent various aspects of our biological universe. The very notion of the cell is polysemic and ambivalent: both container and content, structured and structural, partial and whole, form and volume, open and closed, unique and multiple, stabile and mobile ... These eye-catching curious, graphic and chromatic assemblages are brought to life with the help of the artists’ vision.
In the series entitled « Totipotent Architecture», Lucy + Jorge Orta refer to the monumental architectonical structure, the evident formula, the key element in the development of cells. This force, this « full potential » (« Totipotency ») of a cell is an ever-growing powerful virtual energy, that can only come to its end under certain conditions.
A habitable and conquering living cell creates new forms, regenerates whole new individuals, as though driven by an incommensurable and irresistible need to exist and to conquer, in search of a new beginning, a new expression, a new self, a new world.
Parallels can be drawn between the steel and glass works created by Lucy + Jorge Orta and the « Capriccio », the Renaissance architectural dreams, or the Great Architect’s dream of the Universe and the Cosmos, a dream that is the very essence of creation and life. No life without dream… To find its incarnation, biological life also stems from a divine dream.
Between being and living, housing and living, seeing and looking, « Totipotent Architecture» is part of this infra-thin space, that infinite portion of void separating seemingly synonymous concepts but rich in meaning, thickening the consistency by revealing its contrast (similar to medical contrast imaging).
In the work entitled « Cells diptych », the artists surpass the cellular infinity by creating enlarged biological cells in Murano blown-glass. In doing so, they reveal a new macroscopic life, objectified as a scientific experimental observation in a laboratory. These cells have thus become the manifest metaphors of nature and art’s creative energy and necessity to replicate… the very image of life. With this moving work, the artists pay tribute to life and its vital and primordial power. By synthesizing it in a quasi-metaphysical and medical universe, they create the possibility of a new cosmogony, permanently reinventing the infinitely large and the infinitely small. In doing so, they give their works the ability to self-renew, to pursue their mitosis, endlessly, free from the control of the two artists.
This series on cells, source of hope and dynamism, portends the second part the exhibition, based on Jorge's pictorial work in 1970s, when painting was his way of escaping the overwhelming Argentine dictatorship, and in which the exhibited works explore the idea of the accident as both a violent moment but also as a random, uncontrolled phenomenon.
In the series « Derrame » - Spanish for overflow, leak, spill, or attack (of the brain) - Lucy + Jorge Orta infused these meanings into intense, colourful, flat haemorrhages. These accidents become both the essential composition and the subject matter of the painting. In these formal and chromatic chaos, the artists offer a second possible interpretation, similar to the first part of the exhibition dedicated to cells: vital overflow, a force allowing an irrepressible continuum creating new cell situations, new possibilities.
These artworks are based on the uncontrolled, similar to the action of cellular duplication. Driven by their own necessity - frustrating for the artists who lose control – they are followed by the artists’ latest creations grouped under the name « Assemblages ». The series comprises three-dimensional works, whose chaotic arrays and juxtapositions of colour and collages of “formal reality” on the pictorial surface: stretcher bars, life-buoys, window frames resemble an accident.
This exhibition is therefore a synthesis of the couple’s creative energy and their relation to the world through their scholarly search, exploring doubt and balance against a background of vital and infinite breath.