Hortirecycling Enterprise - Vitrine
Materials: Steel structure, 4 recycled fruit crates, laminated Lambda photographs, mirror, 14 labeled and signed jams, 2 wheels
Dimensions: Approx. 67 x 80 x 22cm
Catalogued: Lucy + Jorge Orta: Food Water Life, Princeton Architectural Press, NY, p.60
Exhibition history: 2012 Tufts University Gallery, Aidekman Arts Center, Medford, USA; 2009 Plymouth Arts Centre, UK
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
Lucy + Jorge Orta’s interest in food was inspired by the 1996 nationwide farmers’ protest against European free market legislation authorizing the importation of low cost agricultural produce from neighbouring European countries. French farmers, fearing their livelihoods in jeopardy, dumped their entire harvest – tons and tons of fruit and vegetables – onto highways to draw attention to their plight. The artists, shocked by the sheer waste of edible food and helpless to the plight of the farmers, began visiting weekly open-air markets in Paris to collect fresh produce discarded at the end of the day and to transform it into a series of artworks.
In 1997 Lucy + Jorge Orta staged their first exhibition to draw attention to the growing phenomenon of food waste. Entitled Dans le Meme Panier (All in One Basket) it was held in the Galerie Saint Eustache in the former wholesale market district of Les Halles in cental Paris. The exhibition include objects and sculptures constructed from salvaged fruit crates and photographs the artists took on their weekly gleaning expeditions. For the opening event they collected a staggering 300 kilos of discarded fruit, which was prepared by the famous Parisian chef-pâtissier Stohrer and then distributed to the general public. Using the fruit and vegetable market as an example of a growing urban phenomenon, the artists went on to stage Hortirecycling Enterprise (act II) at the Weiner Secession (Vienna, 1999), thus generating a wider public debate around the subject of consumer food waste and the inequalities of global food distribution.