Pintura por metro 1976-1984
Materials: 20 painted Gama canvases in wooden crate
Dimensions: 23 x 25 x 90cm
Catalogued: Lucy + Jorge Orta, Light Works, Black Dog Publishing London 2010, p14
Exhibition history: 2010 Black Dog Space London
Courtesy: Private Collection London
Pintura por metro (Painting by the metre) epitomizes the life of a painter in Rosario, Argentina in the late 1970’s. Taking into account the limited taste and knowledge of contemporary expression amongst the petit-bourgeois, Jorge Orta supplied a do-it-yourself painting in a kit format. According to each client's living-room decoration scheme they could simply choose to display any number of the paintings, and pack them neatly away when not required by social convention.
However, the colours painted on each canvas are derived from a codified Gama paint chart created by Orta, and have a double meaning. The spectrum ranges from the cream and rose tinted living rooms of the Rosario bourgeois, blind to the nauseating colors that permeated the everyday existence of life. There are also colours of hope, overflowing with shades of confidence for the future, scales and harmonies designed like a suspension bridge between reality and destiny, a colour therapy, for healing, ones for an urgent Founder Utopia.
Orta asks: "Why so many colours if people completely ignore art? Why sharpen their spectural vision if so many people prefer not to look. Over again I heard the phrase, "I know nothing; I did not see anything ; I was not there, What do I care!".... Orta states: "I wanted to democratize art, take it out of the museum and mass distribute to young and old, troubadours and artisans, fat ladies and young people hungry for social justice."