1976 - 2000
Materials: Wood, glass, sample bottles, acrylic paint, silkscreen print
Dimensions: 149 x 34. 5 x 9.5cm | 58.6 x 13.5 x 3.7 inch
Exhibition history: 2010 Black Dog Space London
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
Gama translates from Spanish as ‘range of colours’, with infinite hues and scales of intensity. Jorge Orta began working on the Gama series in the mid-seventies, under the pressures of public silence that was imposed during the oppressive dictatorial regime; it was one of his many coded methods of alternative communication.
Orta's work during this period is embedded with different layers of meaning and intention. In Gama, each individual colour is a combination of colourmetric, methodological and historical indicators that can be social, political, geographic, or even climatic. Each colour can also be identified and duplicated according to its corresponding international colour code. In the same manner that an industrial paint-chart is mass-distributed to suppliers, Jorge Orta imagined the Gama as an ‘art of infiltration’, accessing people’s homes, and especially the households of the conservative bourgeois whose artistic knowledge was limited, and taste for decoration nauseating. As well as a number of insipid colours and colours of frustration, Orta also created colours of hope, colours for young people, and colours for people seeking social justice. Gama mocks a corrupt and narrow sighted system, at the same time it is powerfully dramatic because it reflects the extreme reality of contemporary art in Rosario.
Lucy + Jorge Orta continue to use these colours in their work today, and to update the original Gama, introducing new colours based on contemporary contextual realities.