Ubelka

Date: 2013 - 2014
Ref: 7004.02
Materials: Aluminium, polychrome.
Dimensions: 180 x 80 x 80cm on arch plinth 130m high (3 + 2AP)
Exhibition history: 2014 Galerie Valerie Bach, Brussels, Belgium; Studio Orta -Les Moulins
Courtesy: Collection of the Artists

In 2013, Lucy + Jorge Orta created a series of five permanant public sculptures that map a 30km parcours along the Huveaune, a coastal river in eastern Provence that originates in the massif of Sainte Baume and flows into the Mediterranean at Marseille port. Each of the five sculptures represents a water spirit, inspired by historical texts, legends and story-telling that recount the strong feminine presence associated with the river Huveaune throughout history.

In the ancient language of the Provence region of France, the river Huveanue took the name Ubelka, which signified “destroyer”, a direct reference to the river’s tempestuous and unpredictable character. Ubelka was considered to be a soothing mother figure but she could also be capricious and redoubtable, much like the terrible flooding the river was renowned for. Ubelka is the spirit of an ancient footbridge, perched ready to leap forward to protect the beauty and serenity of the valley.

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