Seeking Blue Gold⎟Bologna
02 February 2023 - 12 February 2023
Oratorio di San Filippo Neri, Bologna, Italy
Seeking Blue Gold is a new site-specific installation by Lucy + Jorge Orta that takes shape beneath the dome of the Oratorio di San Filippo Neri in Bologna. Curated by Cristina Francucci and Tatiana Basso, Seeking Blue Gold is one of the main projects of ART CITY Bologna 2023 for the occasion of Arte Fiera, and part of the contemporary art programme at the Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna.
The allocation and consumption of water—renamed “blue gold” a term that came to public attention after the documentary film based on the book by Claude Barlow (2003)—are central themes in the Ortas’ poetics, examined in light of the controversial and inequitable development, distribution, and access policies that affect this resource globally. With Seeking Blue Gold, we are asked to become aware of the complex universe disclosed by water. Wooden artifacts from a rural world in which they are still used in traditional irrigation form the centerpiece of the tripartite installation—mounted on steel structures along with contemporary crafted objects from the artists’ vast collection. The installation components arise as symbolic functional totems expressing the inexhaustible confrontation, at times the dichotomy between an ancestral image of the rural past, linked to natural rhythms and the exacerbation of the Baconian ideal of progress that, child of the West, that rages today in many developing countries.