Studio Orta - Spécimens: Collections, croisements, sentinelles

Spécimens: Collections, croisements, sentinelles

25 November 2012 - 31 March 2013
Domaine de Chamarande, Group Exhibition

The Enlightenment gave rise to a systematised, encyclopaedic knowledge of nature attained by methods of collection, classification and empiricism. Artists and scientists alike have since applied this inheritance to the careful circumscription of nature by means of its depiction. For the exhibition Spécimens, the Domaine de Chamarande invites eleven international artists to present the fruit of their confrontations with naturalism. Through the appropriation of scientific approaches to classification, observation and experimentation these artists recompose our representation of the natural world. 

Spécimens features Lucy + Jorge Orta’s Perpetual Amazonia, artworks inspired by the artists’ participation in an expedition to the Peruvian Amazon in 2009 with scientists from the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) at Oxford University. Peru’s Manu Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage site where more than 15,000 species of plants have been recorded and up to 250 varieties of trees can be found in a single hectare. As part of the scientific research, Lucy + Jorge Orta mapped out a one-hectare plot in the rainforest at GPS coordinates S12 48 21.6 W71 24 17.6 in the heart of the Fundo Mascoitania. 

Lucy + Jorge Orta’s expedition moved them to conserve this hectare of land in perpetuity as part of their dedication to scientific research and to the benefits we all receive from long-term forest conservation. The Perpetual Amazonia body of work consists of murals of plant species, hand-made fabric flowers, carefully rendered porcelain fragments and enlarged photographs that focus on details otherwise invisible to the human eye. Their experiences have helped shape an exhibition that weaves scientific, aesthetic and cultural paradigms to lend insight into the area’s huge diversity of living organisms and to the space they occupy in the planet’s evolution.