La Fregona 1979
Exhibition history: Performance conceived in Argentina in 1979, completed at Les Moulins in 2008
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
In the 1970's, artists in Rosario were generally defined as "Sunday painters", doing their job essentially at weekends. Contributing to this definition was the uninspiring cultural environment, the lack of institutions and official support combined with dire economic difficulties, an uninformed public and a widespread notion that art was a mere hobby. Faced with the general social contempt and devaluation of the profession of an artist, it was easy to imagine the difficulties Jorge Orta faced during his Rosario period, from 1972 to 1984. He came to the conclusion that the artist was inferior in usefulness to the cleaning lady, every household needs one, yet nobody needs an artist. Why create? Why paint? And, for whom?
In La Fregona (cleaning lady), the artist assumes the role of a cleaning lady, quite literary painting the floor with a number of handcrafted cleaning tools, scrubbing down the walls, humbly wiping away the apathy hanging over the inhabitants of Rosario, his home town in Argentina. First imagined in 1978, Fregona was performed at Les Moulins for the first time in 2008, and resulted in a series of installations and abstract paintings, of different dimensions.