1979 - 2008
Materials: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 300 x 200cm | 118 x 79 inch
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
In the 1970's, artists in Rosario, Argentina were often called "Sunday painters", essentially working at weekends because the economic instability made it impossible to earn a living from art. Contributing to this pejorative definition and the widespread notion that art was a mere hobby, the lack of institutions and official support alongside the general social contempt and devaluation of the profession of an artist, it was easy to imagine the difficulties Jorge Orta faced while working in Rosario from 1972 to 1984.
In Jorge's opinion, the artist was inferior in usefulness to the cleaning lady: to assume a social standard every Bourgeois household required a maid, yet nobody needed an artist. So why create? Why paint? And, for whom?
In the series Fregona (cleaning lady), the artist assumes the role of a maid, quite literary painting the floor with a number of handcrafted cleaning tools –sculptural household objects–. The action consists of scrubbing down the floors and walls, humbly wiping away the apathy hanging over the inhabitants of his home town. Imagined in 1978, Fregona was finally performed in France for the first time in 2008. The performance (which can be re-staged) resulted in a film, a series of installations, and a number of highly gestual canvases of different dimensions.