Totipotent Architecture - Installation Sacred Art Museum Buonconvento

Studio Orta - 1204
Studio Orta - 1204
Studio Orta - 1204
Studio Orta - 1204

Date: 2004
Ref: 1204
Matériaux: Steel, hand blown crystal, laser cut steel, crystal mirror
Dimensions: Table plinth measuring h 80 x 1240 x w 40 cm
Catalogued: Exhibition catalogue Association Arte All'Arte 2004
Exhibition history: 2013 TheGallery Arts University Bournemouth, UK; 2005 University of Brighton Gallery, UK; 2004 Sacred Art Museum, Buonconvento Tuscany, Arte All'Arte
Courtesy: The Artists

For Arte all’ Arte, a project in the Tuscan town of Buonconvento, Lucy + Jorge Orta installed a series of specially made sculptures in crystal and steel in the Sacred Art Museum. The works were made in collaboration with local artisans and celebrate Colle di Val d’Elsa’s crystal-blowing tradition. Totipotent Architecture is presented on metal and mirror glass tables installed along the length of the gallery. These curious constructions consist of cut metal architectural silhouettes and armatures with organic blown-crystal extensions. They include an interactive work where local visitors can write down their secret wishes for the future and insert them in glass test tubes, which they deposit at the base of the sculpture. 

This new series was inspired by Orta’s recent research into the microstructure of human cells in their earliest stages—the transformation of the embryonic cell into defined, “architectural” structures, which the artists refer to as “cells of habitation.” In the context of Buonconvento, and in juxtaposition to Girolamo’s Annunciation painting, these imaginary architectural models express a “vision” or a birth of new architectural forms as organic extensions of the historic Tuscan buildings. —

James Putnam, “The Shape of the Clouds and the Shape of Space and Time,” in Arte all’arte. La forma delle nuvole. Arte, architettura, paesaggio, eds. James Putnam, Achille Bonito Oliva, and Mario Cristiani (Pistoia: Gli Ori, 2004).