Studio Orta - Urban Life Guard

Urban Life Guard

21 October 2007 - 06 April 2008
Galleria Continua / Le Moulin, Group Exhibition

Since it was founded in 1990 in San Gimignano, in the heart of Tuscany (Italy), the Galleria Continua has supported artists who dialogue and exchange between unusual, rural, industrial, local and global geographies, the art of the recent past and that of today. The Galleria Continua has now embarked upon a new adventure, establishing near Paris a new space dedicated to contemporary art. Every season, in the former paper mill of the rural village of Boissy-le-Châtel, over 2 hectares of land on the banks of the Morin river, Galleria Continua / Le Moulin will play host to exceptional international-level artistic gatherings, providing a showcase for ambitious works by artists from five continents. For the inaugural exhibition the artists work on exhibition and special commissions are: Ai Weiwei, Daniel Buren, Loris Cecchini, Chen Zhen, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Carlos Garaicoa, Kendell Geers, Subodh Gupta, Mona Hatoum, Ilya Kabakov, Anish Kapoor, Jorge Macchi, Sabrina Mezzaqui, Hans Op de Beeck, Lucy + Jorge Orta, Luca Pancrazzi, Bruno Peinado, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Serse, Nedko Solakov, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Yan Lei, Zheng Guogu and Zhuang Hui.
Studio Orta - Fallujah - works in progress

Fallujah - works in progress

29 September 2007 - 03 October 2007
Art Forum Berlin - Motive Gallery Amsterdam, Solo Exhibition

Warfare and its after-effects have always underlain the artistic endeavours of the artists. 'Fallujah', one of their latest projects, borrows its name from the Iraqi city, which in 2003 came to epitomize the violent fate of humanity in the face of military omnipotence - in this case, that of the American and allied powers during the invasion of Iraq. In the installtion especially designed for the Motive Gallery (Amsterdam), Lucy + Jorge Orta gather varied sculptures and wall drawings that form part of their attempt at providing a counter-memory of the Siege of Fallujah - one that draws attention towards its atrocities and the role of the media in shaping its official history.
Studio Orta - Fallujah - Casey’s Pawns: Prague City

Fallujah - Casey’s Pawns: Prague City

19 June 2007
11th Prague Quadrennial of Performance and Theatre, Performative Intervention
Czech Republic

‘Fallujah-Casey’s Pawns’ is a peace intervention for the city of Prague, commissioned and staged for the 11th Prague Quadriennale. This intervention builds upon research the artists Lucy + Jorge Orta have been persuing since 1991, at the out break of the 1st Gulf War and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in June 2004, just five days before the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq. Fallujah-Casey’s Pawns was originally created for the play ‘Fallujah’ written and directed by Jonathan Holmes and performed in London in association with the Institute of Contemporay Arts (May-June 2007). The ongoing Fallujah interventions are visual responses to the current situation in Iraq with a desire to communicate the consequences of the American led invaision to a wider public. The NGO Body Count has estimated that over 34,000 civilians were killed in Iraq in 2006 alone, 1,8 million have been driven from their homes and over 2 million have fled to other countries and this number is growing everyday. What has happended to the quarter of a million people whose livelihoods, homes and daily routines have been permanently and irrevocably changed through acts of violence in the name of Western democracy? How can we begin to understand the experience of living through an invasion, which transforms an urban environment and its surroundings so dramatically that an entire citizenship becomes a flock of refugees. “The more we hear the Truth, the more - The political manipulation, the media censorship, the desperation of medical staff, the horrors of combat, the voices of the citizens themselves. Orta 2007”
Studio Orta - Fallujah


03 May 2007 - 02 June 2007
ICA London, offsite Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, Monograph Exhibition / Theatre collaboration

Fallujah is a three-way collaboration between writer Dr. Jonathan Holmes, composer Nitin Sawhney and contemporary artists Lucy + Jorge Orta. It is a testimonial theatrical performance for which Orta have created emblematic sculptures and installation pieces to create a visual statement for Holmes script and Sawhney’s powerful music. Focusing on the war in Iraq, Fallujah is a verbatim play written and directed by Holmes. It depicts the aftermath of the siege of the city by the American army and coalition forces in 2004. Fallujah was a symbol of Islamic fundamentalist resistance and now stands as evidence of the reactionary and excessive force used by coalition troops since the onslaught of the war. The actors, including Harriet Walter and Imogen Stubbs, perform actual testimonials taken from eye-witnesses personally interviewed by Holmes and triple Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Scilla Elworthy. Drawing from this and forming both a stand-alone exhibition and setting for the performance, Lucy + Jorge Orta have created a series of striking life-size installations designed to communicate and reflect the experiences of everyday citizens, the roles of the aggressors and our position as outside witnesses.
Studio Orta - Heads or Tails, Tails or Heads

Heads or Tails, Tails or Heads

02 April 2007 - 25 April 2007
Antarctica and Ushuaia, Fire Island, Football Match performance

The first in a series of symbolic football matches ‘Heads or Tails, Tails or Heads’, was played on the icecaps in Antarctic in Febraury 2007 as a final conclusion to the 'No Borders' expedition organised by the artists Lucy & Jorge Orta. Meteorologists, paleontologists and geologists from the Marambio Antarctic Base wore the new Antarctic football shirts, created by the artists. These shirts make it difficult to identify the adversary because the back and front are different country's colours. "The football match mirrors human behavior. Appearances are often deceiving: someone we think is a friend may actually be playing against us, while a total stranger can suprise us with an act of solidarity. It is not appearances that count, but rather decisive actions in critical moments". The second symbolic match was played on 2nd April in Ushuaia Fire Island, playing hommage to the soldiers who lost their lives in the bitter Falklands despute. This time the shirts were front half Argentine half back half English, and vice versa.
Studio Orta - Antarctic Village

Antarctic Village

25 March 2007 - 25 April 2007
Bienal at the End of the World , Installation
Ushuaia, Argentina

The first edition of the Biennial at the End of the World in Ushuaia City, Argentina . The event is a joint project between Argentina and Brazil and is actualized by the Argentinean Fundación Patagonia Arte y Desafío with the institutional support of the Fundação Memorial da América Latina from São Paulo, Brazil. The Biennial’s theme can be summarized as ”pondering at the end of the world, what other world is possible” (Pensar en el fin del mundo, qué otro mundo es posible). An aesthetic discourse articulated by linking art and politics with poetry, ecology and technology and announces the First Contemporary Polar Museum of Art, Technology and Environment of the End of the World, to be built in Tierra del Fuego. This year marks the start of the much-awaited ‘International Polar Year’, which will run until March 2009. During this period numerous international scientific experiments and expeditions will be conducted to gain a greater understanding of the roles the Polar regions play in Earth’s weather patterns and environmental state. Commissioned as a special project, Lucy and Jorge Orta will exhibit the installation ‘Antarctic Village’ and the film projection of their expedition in the historic Old Prison, one of the principal exhibition locations designated by biennale. From March through April the installations will be spread throughout Ushuaia City, and the artists will intervene the landscape including the shore of the Beagle Channel.
Studio Orta - Fallujah - works in progress

Fallujah - works in progress

24 March 2007 - 19 May 2007
Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich, Solo Exhibition

In their latest project Fallujah, Lucy and Jorge Orta deal specifically with, the consequences caused by the American led invasion of Iraq as well as the extreme detractions in the lives of people who reside in the war afflicted country. In the year 2003, Fallujah became the epitome of human suffering and military omnipotence and powerlessness. It formed the epicentre of the violent and enduring conflicts between Iraqi resistance fighters and US soldiers. The works are a reflection on the social, political and ethnic consequences of the Iraq War and on the media censorship that distorts our vision of the conflict. The exhibition in the gallery contains a selection of objects, which can be considered outcomes of their research and questions. Not only does the collection consist of objects of real artefacts from everyday life, such as chairs and shoes, but it also includes technical devices such as microphones and cameras used during press conferences or objects from troubled areas such as stretchers, first-aid boxes or water canisters. The two artists create with the help of these works idiosyncratic, but coherent symbioses of objects with a social scope and hereby demonstrate a new symbolic language.
Studio Orta - Totipotent Architecture - Atoll

Totipotent Architecture - Atoll

03 March 2007 - 05 March 2007
Mirafiori Park, Turin, Public art commission

In front of the Fiat Mirafiori plant, in the city of Turin, is a new public park, a large, walk-in sculpture was created in the form of an organic architecture. Entitled 'Totipotent Architecture', it was conceived by Lucy Orta in response to the desire expressed by a group of commissioners made up of students from two neighboring highschools for what they called an “atoll,” a sort of free port. A place to meet, relax, read and chat. The commissioning of this work was initiated in 2003 with a discussion among the commissioners and mediators on themes for public spaces dedicated to the needs of young people.Lucy Orta’s research, focusing on the relationship between body, environment and community, lent itself perfectly to the commission’s requests. Assigned the project in 2004, the artist involved the young people in the planning of a form that would be welcoming and protective and at the same time open, transparent, luminous. The result is a organic habitable sculpture with a smooth cement base on three levels and open canape of hand rolled steel tubing. The sinuous and curvilinear shape of the base resembles the organic form of a cell, recalled in the work’s title with its direct reference to the totipotent cell, the stem cell, the unit of unlimited potential that presides over the construction of an entire organism.Following from this potentiality are the imprints of parts of the commissioners’ bodies, casts made of aluminum and impressed on the sculpture’s three cement platforms. Hands, shoes, backs and buttocks form a series of intertwining figures encrusted into the cement surface, inviting those who enter the sculpture to arrange themselves in positions that encourage interrelation and connectivity, so common in the work of Lucy Orta. 'Totipotent Architecture' is thus offered as a structure that changes according to how it is used, and a space for social interaction.
Studio Orta - Antarctic Village

Antarctic Village

19 February 2007 - 06 March 2007
Marambio Scientific Base, Antarctica, Ephemeral installation
South Pole

Jorge Orta and the Studio-Orta team embark aboard a Hercules KC130 flight on their first expedition to the Polar region. Working closely with scientists stationed at the Marambio scientific base on the Antarctic Peninsular, they will scour the natural reserve in helicopters to select the ideal location for the symbolic encampment ‘Antarctic Village’. This ambitious artwork will be situated in various locations on the icecaps, forming an ephemeral exhibition reflecting upon a symbolic land that welcomes all, a ‘Community of Mankind’. Orta have been working on the project since the early 1990's and have created over 50 unique sculptures in the form of mobile habitats, mini-dome architectures. The aluminium membranes of the domes are encrusted with hundreds of flags, clothes and gloves, symbolising the multiplicity and diversity of people. The domes have been applied with hand silk-screen printed graphic inscriptions from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The creation of the ‘Antarctic Village’, the film and the expedition logbook to be published on their return, are a bid by the artists to amend Article 13 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights to include a human beings inherent right to freedom of movement – Article 13.3. ‘Antarctic Village’ symbolizes a place that welcomes all and reflects on the millions of people exiled from their native lands by ecological disasters, economic ruin, war and political intimidation. Professor Lucy Orta, speaking from the University of the Arts: “We wanted to communicate the fact that Antarctica is first and foremost the most important World natural reserve and that the Antarctic Treaty signed in 1959 established freedom of scientific investigation, environmental protection, and also banned all military activity on this sixth continent. This was the first Arms Control agreement established during the Cold War. Antarctica is our new Utopia, the ideal metaphor for our idea that people should have a right to move freely and circulate beyond state borders to a new lands, in peace and towards a new Hope. 'Antarctic Village' encapsualtes the conceptual motto of the 1st End of the World Biennale as an art without frontiers joining the North and South Poles: “Pondering, at the end of the world that an other world is possible”."
Studio Orta - OrtaWater 07

OrtaWater 07

25 November 2006 - 30 January 2007
Galleria Continua Beijing, Solo Exhibition

Travelling from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam, the Continua Gallery will play host to the third phase of this five-year project. The exhibition will include an installation of objects, sculptures and machinery referencing the dilemma of the world’s diminishing supplies of pure water and the loss of public control to this vital resource. Based in Beijing, Lucy and Jorge Orta will continue working on alternative methods for water purification and distribution; conducting research, collecting information and source material about the distressing situation in China.
Studio Orta - Light Works and 70 x 7 The Meal Act XXV

Light Works and 70 x 7 The Meal Act XXV

14 September 2006 - 24 September 2006
Argentine Ambassador’s Residence, Belgrave Square London, Solo Exhibition, Curated by Gabriela Salgado

Since 2004, the Argentine Ambassador’s residence situated in Belgrave Square London has been the site of many special cultural events including talks, screenings and concerts. During London Open-House the residence will play host to an exhibition of new Argentine contemporary art. For the inauguration, the Ambassador has commissioned Jorge Orta to create a light-based artwork for the façade. The evening celebrations will be followed by the 25th meal in the series of Orta’s legendry banquets, complete with limited edition Royal Limoges porcelain designed specially for the occasion.
Studio Orta - Lucy + Jorge Orta: Selected Works

Lucy + Jorge Orta: Selected Works

09 September 2006 - 15 October 2006
Motive Gallery, Amsterdam , Solo Exhibition
The Netherlands

The exhibition of selected works to be seen at Motive Gallery gathers installations and preparatory drawings from the artists' latest operations OrtaWater as well as Lucy Orta's Refuge Wear (1992-1998) and Urban Life Guard (1999-2006). This show is a unique chance to get a glimpse at some of the emblematic pieces that become one of the most coherent contemporary attempts at reconciling art and democracy, when democracy is understood as a system in which everyone has equal rights and access to primary resources and when art becomes a consciousness raising tool in a world turned global. "Here lies the aesthetic strategy of these objects: they mimic –as much as critique- the state of affairs that alarmed Lucy and Jorge in the first place. Simultaneously inspiring and questioning, playful and serious, they project both an apocalyptic and resourceful future, a vision that empowers the viewer with renewed perspectives for altering the balance of global powers." Catherine Somzé, Amsterdam 2006