Materials: Reclaimed felt blankets, wool, bird whistles, three-dimensional sound-scape
Dimensions: Performance for 18 woodland spirits
Catalogued: Fabulae Naturae. Milan, Marsilio 2015
Exhibition history: 2015, ZegnArt, Ermenegildo Zegna global headquarters, Milan
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta and Fondazione Zegna
Fabuale Naturae bring together three bodies of work by Lucy + Jorge Orta, Symphony of Absent Wildlife, Amazonia and 70 x 7 The Meal, to create a multi-media performance incorporating a 3D sound-scape, masked characters, projections, wall murals and food.
Taking inspiration from Heberlein Fund, a printed textile archive containing over 2,000 volumes now conserved by the Zegna Archive, Lucy + Jorge Orta transformed the architecture of the Ermenegildo Zegna headquartes designed by Antonio Citterio, into a forest kaleidoscope of murals, which wrapped around the building, to unveil a remarkable ode to wildlife. Within this botanical setting, the artists staged Symphony for Absent Wildlife, a visual and audio installation, to intensify the feeling of stepping into a fairy tale world, inhabited by fictional creatures of the forest. The three-dimensional sound-scape is conceived as a dichotomy between a ‘false’ orchestra of flutists acting in a symphony for nature and a ‘true’ orchestra consisting of bird whistles. Each musician wears a tailcoat and mask, in the form of a woodland creature tailored from reclaimed Red Cross felt blankets.
At the centerpiece is a life-size tree floor drawing, whose branches lead visitors to 'food stations', where chef Davide Oldani served a menu of sustainable delicacies. Choosing timely convivial moments to discuss sustainable issues, the artists created a limited edition of Royal Limoges porcelain, to provoke debates between guests, and to support the restoration of the Punta Mesco area in Italy. For each artwork sold a row of vines will be planted, bearing the name of each 'owner'.
Fabulae Naturae commissioned by ZegnArt for the occasion of the Expo Milan on 2nd May 2015, is a new episode of the art and food performances that Lucy + Jorge Orta have presented in cities around the world since 1997, in which they connect art, nutrition and ethical themes. Photography by Paul Bevan.