Gama Testigos 1982
Materials: Wood, mirror, glass, sample bottles, clothing fragments, ash, Gama acrylic paint. Edition of 7
Dimensions: 74 x 20 x 6 cm
Catalogued: Lucy + Jorge Orta - For A Contextual Art, Frédérick Mouraux Gallery, 2022
Exhibition history: 2022 Frédérick Mouraux Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
The title "Gama", translates from Spanish as ‘range of colours’, with infinite hues and scales of intensity. Each colour can be identified and duplicated by its corresponding international code. Yet, the title the artists give them is based on a combination of colourmetric, methodological, and historical indicators – these can be social, political, geographic or climatic.
Jorge Orta began working on the Gama series in the mid-seventies, under the pressures of public silence, during the oppressive dictatorial regime; it was one of his many coded systems of alternative communication. In the same manner an industrial paint-chart is distributed through mass-channels, Jorge imagined Gama as an ‘art of infiltration’, accessing people’s homes, and especially the house-holds of the bourgeois salon society who’s artistic knowledge was limited, and who’s taste for decoration verged on the nauseating pink and yellow hues. There are also colours of hope, colours for young people, and for people seeking social justice.
This work is both satirical because it mocks the system, yet it is extremely dramatic, because it reflects the extreme reality of contemporary art practice, in Rosario, Argentina and in general across Latin America.
Lucy + Jorge Orta continue to use these colours in their work today, and to update the Gama, introducing new colours based on contemporary contextual realities.