Urban Life Guard N.I.O. 0317

Date: 2005
Ref: 0918
Materials: 23 Military Stretcher beds, aluminium coated polyamide, surplus linen, silkscreen print, webbing, clips, wooden head supports
Dimensions: Installation dimensions approx. 6m x 25m
Catalogued: pp 86-87 Lucy + Jorge Orta Antarctica, Electa ISBN 9788837060879
Exhibition history: 2005 Barbican Art Gallery, The Curve; 2006 Continua Gallery Beijing; 2008 Hangar Bicocca Milano
Courtesy: Collection of the artists

The Urban Life Guard N.I.O. 0317 installation formed the centrepiece of Lucy Orta’s solo exhibition commissioned by The Curve gallery at the Barbican Centre London, in 2005. The work is comprised of twenty-three suspended Red Cross stretcher beds incorporating fifty life-size figures in the dual positions of being carried by or carrying something/someone. This bi-polar state of being supportive and supported both at the same time, can be understood as the measure of an individual’s capacity to overcome ordeals and provide aid to others in distress. The force of this work is conveyed by the human form conceived as a fragile structure, connected to and entirely dependent on the support of others.

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