Tower of Dreams - Totipotent Architecture

Date: 2004
Ref: 1202
Materials: Steel, 20 hand blown crystal cells, laser cut steel, 4 Body Architectures, mirror, test tubes with hand written dreams
Dimensions: h 210 x l 120 x w 110 cm
Catalogued: pp159-177 Arte all' Arte exhibition catalogue 2005
Exhibition history: 2017 MassArt, Boston, MA, USA; 2013, TheGallery, Arts University Bournemouth, UK; 2005 University of Brighton Gallery; 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. In Vitro is a modified antique cradle containing organic crystal-blown forms, whose placement juxtaposes a Renaissance painting of the Annunciation by Girolamo di Benvenuto. 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 is an extraordinary structure, with ladder-like elements and tiers upon which strange, imaginary textile “infants” in handcrafted bivouacs rest on bunk beds. Like chrysalises hibernating in cells, they relate directly to Orta’s Connector Body Architecture artwork, suspended from Buonconvento’s gateway.

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).

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