Battleships at Ullens Center of Contemporary Art

Battleships at Ullens Center of Contemporary Art

29 May 2014
Ullens Center of Contemporary Art, Performance
China

On May 29, 2014 Lucy + Jorge Orta inaugurated the symposium “Collective Subjectivity and Its Aesthetics in Light of Cultural Differences,” organized by the Collective Eye Symposium, at the Ullens Center of Contemporary Art in Beijing. The artists selected the three-day event to premier Battleships, a new performance exploring the potential of collective action to create a more just society.

Through the structure of “play” the performance looks at today’s fierce competition for control of the planet’s resources to ask vital questions about the earth’s future. What space is left for cooperation, solidarity, and the common good of humanity? Can reflection and collective action compensate for or balance individualistic ambitions? How does one define true victory, and who are the real losers in a globalized world?

The open-ended performance takes the form of the renowned board game Battleship to address strategic challenges of today's world. Several teams participate simultaneously and their objectives are represented by, among other things, natural resources, an aircraft carrier, nuclear power plants, mines, agricultural land, fisheries, technology, finance, and works of art. This first iteration of Battleships initiated the symposium’s agenda to set in motion a theoretical discourse on collectivity and its possibilities.

Solo Exhibition at Parc de la Villette, Paris

Solo Exhibition at Parc de la Villette, Paris

21 May 2014 - 21 September 2014
Parc de la Villette, Paul Delouvrier contemporary art pavilion and park grounds , Solo exhibition
France

Parc de la Villette in Paris inaugurates Lucy + Jorge Orta’s solo exhibition Food Water Life, an inspiring mixture of seminal archival works and newly commissioned sculptures spanning the Paul-Delouvrier contemporary art pavilion and park grounds.

This exhibition builds on Lucy + Jorge Orta’s examination of contemporary issues through poetic explorations that interrogate our daily habits of eating, drinking, and living. Visitors will be invited to stroll the park’s expansive grounds to discover the artists’ diverse artworks, including a new series of Spirits inspired by children who frequent La Villette; an OrtaWater Purification Station that will pump water from the Canal de l'Ourcq, through the park, and into the gallery to be purified; and an Antarctica World Passport Bureau, where passers-by can sign up to receive a new edition of the Antarctica World Passport and become members of the growing Antarctica World Community. 

FOOD WATER LIFE takes us on a journey toward imagining, sharing, and ultimately rendering possible a more just society.

Vernissage May 20, 2014 at 18h30
In the presence of the artists
RSVP: vernissage@villette.com

Metro/bus/tram: Porte de Pantin Map

 

Food Water Life | Johnson Museum of Art

Food Water Life | Johnson Museum of Art

25 January 2014 - 08 June 2014
Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Solo exhibition
USA

On January 25, the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University inaugurates the next chapter of Lucy + Jorge Orta’s exhibition Food Water Life. The show presents three projects that span close to two decades of collaborative work. Through sculpture, drawing, installation, and video the artists explore concerns that define the twenty-first century: biodiversity, environmental sustainability, climate change, and social economy.

As heirs to the practice of social sculpture, formulated by the German artist and activist Joseph Beuys in the 1960s, the Orta’s works are relics of their own function—captivating assemblages such as the Processing Units and the Purification Factory are, respectively, a platform for the preparation of food and a mechanism to purify water. Other elements, created for a 2007 expedition to Antarctica, form part of an effort to amend the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The featured works are metaphors-in-action, constructions that perform the tasks of which they are emblematic.

This exhibition, which is curated by curatorsquared, originated at Tufts University Gallery and tours to the Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles (August 16 – December 7 2014) and the Richard E. Peeler Art Center, DePauw University, Greencastle (February 5 – May 7, 2015). 

A Perfect Holiday Gift : Antarctica World Passport now available on Amazon

A Perfect Holiday Gift : Antarctica World Passport now available on Amazon

20 December 2013
Studio Orta Amazon shop , Publication
Worldwide

For the very first time Lucy + Jorge Orta’s Antarctica World Passport is available to acquire online.

The Antarctica World Passport is a precious, editioned artwork by Lucy + Jorge Orta to mobilize citizens of the world to protect the Antarctic. By obtaining this facsimile travel document one agrees to fulfill the promises of the Antarctica World Community by taking action against global warming and striving for peace. The project is not for profit and the minimal fee goes toward administration costs. 

The release of Antarctica World Passport online coincides with the launch of the brand new Studio Orta shop on Amazon. Here you will find the chance to purchase rare and hard to find books on Lucy + Jorge Orta. Consider offering one of these special publications for the holidays!

Glasstress: White Light / White Heat comes to London

Glasstress: White Light / White Heat comes to London

01 December 2013 - 22 February 2014
Fashion Space Gallery London, Group exhibition
UK

In a unique collaboration between Berengo Studio, Venice Projects, London College of Fashion, and The Wallace Collection, Glasstress: White Light | White Heat presents newly commissioned work from some of today’s most important contemporary artists, many working in glass for the first time. 

Lucy + Jorge Orta’s Amazonia Tree of Life, commissioned for the Venice venue of this traveling exhibition, are blossoms of handcrafted glass flowers, grafted onto branches from a Mediterranean olive tree, extending outward from the trunk. Amazonia Tree of Life follows the trajectory of Lucy + Jorge Orta’s ongoing Perpetual Amazonia project. During their 2009 expedition to the Peruvian Amazon the artists photographed hundreds of rainforest plant species, creating a personalized collection of florilegium they continue to add to during their travels across the world. These florae have since been transformed into large format photographs, drawings, handcrafted couture works, and porcelain objects. The latest interpretations in glass have been blown by the master craftsman Danilo Zanella at Berengo Studio.

As its title intimates, Glasstress: White Light | White Heat deals with light and heat, intrinsic aspects of glass and its working. Glass is born from the creative and destructive force of fire, which transforms the basic chemical elements into a viscous fluid. The result is a malleable matter with a chaotic, molecular structure providing light with a limitless variety of surfaces, colors, transparencies, and reflections.

The London exhibition is showing across the Fashion Space Gallery and The Wallace Collection.

Spirits of the Huveaune | Aux Commandes ! Les Nouveaux Commanditaires ou comment faire société avec l'art

Spirits of the Huveaune | Aux Commandes ! Les Nouveaux Commanditaires ou comment faire société avec l'art

30 November 2013 - 26 January 2014
Château de Tours, Group exhibition
France

Aux Commandes ! is an exhibition featuring eight recent commissions by the Fondation de France initiative Nouveaux Commanditaires (New Patrons). In the last twenty years New Patrons has enabled the production of more than 400 works across Europe. The emblematic artworks selected for this exhibition at Châteu de Tours reveal the ways in which citizens and artists can engage in territorial development to define their living and work spaces. The exhibition captures the diversity of political issues to which our society responds, the range of artwork commissions seeking to address them, and the pertinence of these artistic proposals to effect change.

Lucy + Jorge Orta present a miniature version of Spirits of the Huveaune, a scale replica of the five permanent figurative sculptures that were installed over a two-year period along the Huveaune valley and inaugurated for Marseille Cultural Capital 2013. Known locally as the Chemin des Fées, the five Spirit sculptures map the presence of the Huveaune, a coastal river in eastern Provence that originates in the massif of Sainte Baume and flows into the Mediterranean Sea at Marseille.

The five Spirits of the Huveaune: Spirit of the source – Marie, Martellières, Saint-Zacharie Spirit of the bridge – Ubelka, Moulin Saint-Claude, Auriol Spirit of the river banks – Manon, Îlot des Berges Park, Aubagne Spirit of the old mill – Gyptis, Parc du vieux Moulin Spirit of the lake – Ophelia, Parc Borély

Spirits of the Huveaune was commissioned by the association Rives & Cultures and mediated by the Bureau des Compétences et Désirs, Sylvie Amar and Anastassia Makridou-Bretonneau.

Antarctica World Passport Bureau | Self Unself

Antarctica World Passport Bureau | Self Unself

10 October 2013 - 17 November 2013
Van Abbemuseum, Eindoven, Group exhibition
The Netherlands

Self Unself at Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven is a group exhibition highlighting differences in how artists and designers work within the world. The show focuses on the practices of artists who, over the last thirty years, have actively engaged with real world conditions and explores the capacity of art to have effect in the world rather than to remain in the realms of representation. Self Unself reflects on an art practice that imagines, creates and implements socially beneficial outcomes that redefine the understanding of autonomy in terms of a critical and engaged relationship to society.

Former head of the Social Design master's research program, alias Man & Humanity Master, Lucy Orta returns to Eindhoven to present Antarctica World Passport Bureau, an installation that engages audiences to take action against global warming. Antarctica’s unique geopolitics and extreme weather offer conditions that advance the quest for freedom of research and international cooperation, a place where it’s possible to share common pacific aims for the good of the whole planet. Lucy + Jorge Orta invited the 15,000 museum visitors to join the online passport community dedicated to protect the Antarctic and, in so doing, to become citizens of the world. Get your passport now!

Self Unself was a collaboration between Design Academy Eindhoven and Van Abbemuseum. The exhibition was organized in conjunction with Dutch Design Week 2013. 

Photograph Peter Cox courtesy of Van Abbemuseum

Book launch: Potential Architecture

Book launch: Potential Architecture

09 October 2013 - 01 December 2013
TheGallery, University Arts Bournemouth, Book launch and exhibition
UK

On October 17 Arts University Bournemouth launches the new book Lucy + Jorge Orta: Potential Architecture. This monograph delves into Lucy + Jorge Orta’s recent architectural endeavors that derive from their fascination with cell biology and the process of cell differentiation. It traces the fruit of the artists’ research on new organic and modular architecture as a result of their collaboration with the Greenham partnership and other communities across Europe. Through drawings and sculpture, the artists conceptualize the communication process the human cell undertakes from its embryonic state and the infinite transformations that lead to defined structural organisms.

The release of this new publication coincides with the exhibition Lucy + Jorge Orta: Potential Architecture curated by Simon Beeson at TheGallery, Arts University Bournemouth. The exhibition brings together sculptures, drawings, and models created by the artist since the inception of Totipotent Architecture in 2002. This series marked a shift away from the body and transient shelters to more permanent proposals for sculpture and interventions in urban space.

Simon Beeson in conversation with Lucy Orta: 5pm-6pm, followed by drinks reception: 6pm-7pm, TheGallery. Exhibition on view until December 1, 2013

What We Sow: 70 x 7 The Meal, act XXXIV

What We Sow: 70 x 7 The Meal, act XXXIV

05 October 2013
Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, Public artwork
USA

To mark its 30th anniversary Mural Arts Philadelphia has invited Lucy + Jorge Orta to create the seminal project What We Sow, which expands on the social and civic foundation of the mural tradition by addressing the relationship among local communities, regional ecologies, global economies, and the politics of food production.

On October 5, 2013, to conclude an engaging schedule of community programs, Orta will stage 70 x 7 The Meal, act XXXIV, gathering thousands of people around a meal for dinner. The table, set with a newly commissioned edition of Royal Limoges porcelain plates and a table runner adorned with original drawings by the artists, will span Independence National Historical Park. Among its many historical treasures this park is home to Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution was debated and adopted in the late 18th century.

70 x 7 The Meal, act XXXIV will gather over a thousand guests around a communal table as well as simultaneous dinners across the city to engage diverse communities in conversation surrounding the issue of heirloom foods and their role in creating access to a healthier food system. The meal will feature a menu of heirloom produce created by Philadelphia’s star Chef Marc Vetri. Invitations to the 70 x 7 The Meal were awarded by lottery, offering equal chance for those from the Philadelphia community to not only take a seat at the table, but to find a voice in the discussion.

Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art

Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art

21 September 2013 - 20 November 2013
Zhejiang Art Museum, Installation & Commission
China

The first ever Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art features two pivotal works by Lucy + Jorge Orta: a new, specially commissioned iteration of Nexus Architecture and the very first exposition of Connector Mobile Village in its entirety. 

Nexus Architecture is regarded as an emblem of Orta’s practice. This body of work, which is both an installation and performative, is comprised of groups of workers-overalls, interconnected via a system of channels and zippers called the ‘Nexus’, meaning link or bond. A Nexus Architecture intervention, with the participation of fifty performers, was staged on site in Hangzhou and filmed for a forthcoming new video. For the duration of the Triennial, an installation of the specially commissioned Nexus overalls will be on display at the Zhejiang Art Museum.

For the very first time Lucy + Jorge Orta’s Connector Mobile Village will be on view in its entirety, filling the striking entrance of the Zhejiang Art Museum. This monumental installation is the culmination of many years of work creating a vast system of modular architectures that adapt according to the needs of an individual or group. Each unit can be interconnected to form manifold complex structures capable of serving larger numbers of people and performing different residential, educational and social functions. The nature of these structures allows each individual to exert the freedom of choice by connecting to or disconnecting from the sequence at will.

Lucy + Jorge Orta

Lucy + Jorge Orta

20 July 2013 - 03 November 2013
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Solo exhibition
UK

On July 20, 2013 a presentation of new and recent work by Lucy + Jorge Orta opens at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Located in YSP’s Longside Gallery and on the park grounds, this important exhibition revolves around the theme of water, central to Orta’s practice. Alongside archival works the artists launch two major new commissions: Raft of the Medusa and Spirits of the Huveaune - Ubelka.

Raft of the Medusa, a centerpiece of the exhibition, is inspired by Théodore Géricault’s 1818-19 shipwreck painting Le Radeau de la Méduse. Constructed in the form of a radeau de fortune, this unusual patchwork assemblage of driftwood, lacquered glass, oil drums, giant oars and a ‘cloud’ roof resembles a large raft out of which juts an imposing ladder-cum-mast. The sculpture is laden with allusions to water’s contradictory power to save or destroy and to current international migration and the journeys many are forced to take in search of refuge.

Also unveiled is Ubelka, a larger than life female figure cast in bronze belonging to Orta’s ongoing Spirits series. Weaving a link between past and present, Spirits refers to the universal water cycle and its poetic representation through myth and legend surrounding the history of Marseille’s Huveaune river, along which five earlier works now permanently reside. Ubelka is the mother goddess of water, the maternal figure from whom the river takes its original name. Ubelka at YSP is generously enabled by Pangolin Editions.

Orta have designed two limited edition plates exclusively for YSP to coincide with the exhibition. Both designs draw from Orta’s series 70x7 The Meal bringing people together ad infinitum around the ritual of eating. Made in Royal Limoges porcelain with a four-color enamel process, including platinum silver accents, the plates feature the artists’ drawings and are signed and numbered on the reverse. Both are in an edition of 50 and available for the special exhibition price of £160, with presentation box. Please see here for further details.

Glasstress: White Light / White Heat

Glasstress: White Light / White Heat

01 June 2013 - 20 November 2013
55th International Art Exhibition in Venice, Group exhibition
Italy

Glasstress. White Light / White Heat, curated by Adriano Berengo and James Putnam, invites artists to deal with light and heat, intrinsic aspects of glass and its working. Glass is born from the creative and destructive force of fire, which transforms the basic chemical elements into a viscous fluid. The result is a malleable matter with a chaotic, molecular structure providing light with a limitless variety of surfaces, colours, transparencies and reflections.

Specially commissioned for this exhibition, Lucy + Jorge Orta’s Amazonia Tree of Life is a magnificent bronze tree trunk, felled and polished over the years by river currents. Delicate blossoms of handcrafted glass flowers grafted onto carefully selected olive branches from the Mediterranean extend outward from the trunk. 

Amazonia Tree of Life follows the trajectory of Lucy + Jorge Orta’s ongoing Perpetual Amazonia project. During their expedition to the Peruvian Amazon in 2009 the artists photographed hundreds of rainforest plant species, a personalised collection of florilegium they continue to add to during their travels across the world. These florae have since been transformed into large format photographs, drawings, handcrafted couture works and porcelain objects. The latest interpretations in glass have been blown by the master craftsmen Danilo Zanella at the Berengo Studio in Venice, a truly unique addition to this ambitious project.

Glasstress is a collateral event of the 55th International Art Exhibition in Venice.

Lucy Orta at TEDxWWF

Lucy Orta at TEDxWWF

21 May 2013
www.ted.com/tedx/events/8061, Public lecture
Abu Dhabi

World Widelife Fund for Nature (WWF) and TED have joined forces in organizing One Planet Living, a week-long conference in Abu Dhabi. The event brought together world-leading environmental thinkers and doers to inspire live and global online audiences for a better future.

As one of the conference’s prestigious speakers, Lucy Orta has been invited to address the contributions made by Studio Orta in facing the challenges of living within the earth’s means, recognizing its natural capital and fulfilling the duty to leave a healthy, ‘living’ planet for future generations.

Click here to watch Lucy Orta's speech online. 

Internaturalism

Internaturalism

08 May 2013 - 29 September 2013
Parco Arte Vivente, Turin, Group exhibition
Italy

Drawn from semiologist Gianfranco Marrone’s theory of “internaturality,” the exhibition Internaturalism at PAV Turin poses a forceful critique of the Western and humanistic concept of nature. Installations, documentation, videos and sound-experiences cast doubt upon the culturally-specific hierarchies inherent to definitions of natural and non-natural in ways that challenge distinctions between human and non-human. Artists explore existential relationships among various forms of living to find a new means to define the environment and better policies to govern it. Amazonia (2010) is double projection video that draws the viewer into the Peruvian Amazon through stunning imagery and audio recorded by Lucy + Jorge Orta during their expedition there in 2009. We are guided into the rain forest by the voice of Gaia and, as the clouds dissipate, an unusual conversation between a man and a woman prompts us to reflect on the fragile balance between man and his natural environment: My centre is everywhere. Everything. Huge and hung together. The journey closes with a reflection on how we can shape the future: Touch the nation any Human Tug. At any moment Our future will move. The film was commissioned by the contemporary program at the Natural History Museum London in 2010 for a solo exhibition of works by the artists. The poetry was composed for the film by eco-poet Mario Petrucci.

Artists’ Plans for Sustainability

Artists’ Plans for Sustainability

02 May 2013 - 22 June 2013
Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Group exhibition
UK

In just a few decades, the world population will exceed 9 billion, 70% of which will live in cities. The exhibition Artists’ Plans for Sustainability at Mead Gallery, University of Warwick brings together plans for innovative and radical solutions to a more sustainable and resilient way of life. The exhibition will feature Lucy + Jorge Orta’s Hortirecycling Enterprise - Processing Unit (1999), an action highlighting local consumer waste and the inequalities of global food distribution. Over the span of a month and a half, Collect Units devised by the artists will be distributed to some of the 800 student kitchens on campus and used to gather discarded fruit and vegetables. The overripe produce will be turned into preserves by local chefs and made available for tasting at the Mead Gallery. This action brings university and community members together to illustrate the multiple possibilities of a recycling enterprise and to reconsider the point at which food becomes waste.

Cloud | Meteoros : Inaugural Terrace Wires Commission Unveiled

Cloud | Meteoros : Inaugural Terrace Wires Commission Unveiled

18 April 2013 - 10 October 2013
Barlow Shed, St Pancras International London, Public sculpture commission
UK

A suspended meeting place, the sky is the agora of our imagination.

On April 18, 2013 Lucy + Jorge Orta unveil their monumental work Cloud | Metéoros at St Pancras International. As part of a new initiative titled Terrace Wires, the artists have been selected to create the very first public sculpture to be suspended in the Barlow Shed of the Eurostar terminal.

The artwork will be a cardinal welcome to the nearly one million visitors to the station each week. Floating amid the glass-vaulted architecture of the historic Barlow Shed, Cloud | Metéoros resembles vast cumuli populated with travellers, a ‘magic carpet’ taking passengers on an imaginary journey in the skies. It also carries a more political message. The cloud calls into question how mankind will share the vital resource of water on earth.
Meteoros is derived from ancient Greek, meaning raised from the ground, suspended, lofty or in the midst. Clouds have long been intercessors between reality and the imagination, between heaven and earth, lightness and gravity. They inhabit the skies of Renaissance fresco paintings, often depicted crowded with laymen and prophets, angels and deities. Throughout history, this celestial vault has been a site of conviviality, of learning and exchange.

Terrace Wires is an initiative by HS1 Limited. This ambitious project finds its home in London alongside other annual public art commissions, including the Fourth Plinth, Turbine Hall at Tate Modern and the summer pavilion at Serpentine Gallery.

Spirits of the Huveaune | Three new Spirits to be unveiled

Spirits of the Huveaune | Three new Spirits to be unveiled

06 April 2013
Marseille, la vallée de l’Huveaune, Public sculpture commission
France

In honor of Marseille-Provence 2013 European Capital of Culture and Fondation de France’s Nouveaux commanditaire, Lucy + Jorge Orta present Le Chemin des Fées – Spirits of the Huveaune, a 30km parcours of sculptures across four municipalities that invite people to rediscover the Huveaune river’s rich cultural heritage.

The five Spirits of the Huveaune, feminine figures cast into bronze, are situated along the Huveaune river valley between the spring, deep in the Provence Alps, and the estuary at the Mediterranean, the ancient sea port of Massilia. The legendry, supernatural and the imaginary are the artists’ sources of inspiration collated from historical texts, local legends and stories recounting the feminine presence associated with the Huveaune river and the valley.

April 6, 2013 marks the inauguration of three such spirits: la Fée de la source - Marie at the Martellière, Saint-Zacharia; la Fée du pont - Ubelka at the Moulin Saint-Claude, Auriol; and la Fée des berges - Manon at the Îlot des Berges Park, Aubagne.

A fourth spirit, La Fée du vieux moulin (Gyptis), was unveiled in October 2012 in the Vieux Moulin Park, and the fifth and final spirit, la Fée du lac - Ophélie, will be inaugurated in Borély Park this coming May.

The spirits invest each site as genii loci, weaving a link between the past and present. Referring to the universal water cycle, Le Chemin des Fées aims to raise public awareness of environmental issues related to the river’s fate, particularly water management in the future, there as elsewhere.

Chemin des Fées was commissioned by the Association Rives et Cultures.

Food Water Life

Food Water Life

22 January 2013 - 03 March 2013
Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University, Solo exhibition
USA

On January 22, 2013 the Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University opens its doors to Lucy + Jorge Orta’s seminal exhibition Food Water Life. The exhibition, which originated at Tufts University Gallery and which will tour the United States, explores how the artists' unique visual language tackles global issues affecting our lives. Three projects spanning close to two decades of collaborative work will be presented: Hortirecyling (1997-2005), OrtaWater (2005-2007) and Antarctica (1990-2009).

Lucy + Jorge Orta’s artwork communicates widely to audiences beyond the field of contemporary art, demonstrating the importance of art as a creative agent for awareness and change. During the next three years, the artists will stage on-location workshops, ephemeral interventions, residencies and master classes that explore the crucial themes of the contemporary world: the community, autonomy, dwelling, migration, sustainable development and recycling.

This exhibition will travel to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University (January 25–May 25, 2014) and Richard E. Peeler Art Center, DePauw University, Greencastle (February 5–May 7, 2015) with other venues to be announced.

Imaginary Creature—Revealed!

Imaginary Creature—Revealed!

07 December 2012 - 13 January 2013
Lille Town Hall, Solo exhibition
France
Lucy + Jorge Orta's Imaginary Creature has been revealed!

Over the span of three months, thousands of school children gathered across the eight counties of Lille to participate in archeological digs. Among the Gallo-Roman pottery and everyday objects they unearthed were 80 mysterious bone sculptures, handcrafted and cast in resin. After much suspense, these 80 fantastical bone sculptures (some measuring over 3 meters long) have been reconstituted into the complete skeleton of a fantastical creature now on view at Lille Town Hall until January 13, 2012.

This remarkable project united children all over Lille and the surrounding region in a search through history and into the unknown. During the digs, children were asked to draw what they thought the Imaginary Creature could look like. Their hundreds of renderings are a powerful testament to the force of imagination.

Imaginary Creature was born out of Lucy + Jorge's Amazonia project and draws from their previous collaboration with the paleontology department of the Natural History Museum London. The project brings together scientists and artists to raise children's awareness not only of the metropolis they share but of a past, both real and imagined, wherein lie the future’s greatest possibilities.

Spécimens: Collections, croisements, sentinelles

Spécimens: Collections, croisements, sentinelles

25 November 2012 - 31 March 2013
Domaine de Chamarande, Group Exhibition
France

The Enlightenment gave rise to a systematised, encyclopaedic knowledge of nature attained by methods of collection, classification and empiricism. Artists and scientists alike have since applied this inheritance to the careful circumscription of nature by means of its depiction. For the exhibition Spécimens, the Domaine de Chamarande invites eleven international artists to present the fruit of their confrontations with naturalism. Through the appropriation of scientific approaches to classification, observation and experimentation these artists recompose our representation of the natural world. 

Spécimens features Lucy + Jorge Orta’s Perpetual Amazonia, artworks inspired by the artists’ participation in an expedition to the Peruvian Amazon in 2009 with scientists from the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) at Oxford University. Peru’s Manu Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage site where more than 15,000 species of plants have been recorded and up to 250 varieties of trees can be found in a single hectare. As part of the scientific research, Lucy + Jorge Orta mapped out a one-hectare plot in the rainforest at GPS coordinates S12 48 21.6 W71 24 17.6 in the heart of the Fundo Mascoitania. 

Lucy + Jorge Orta’s expedition moved them to conserve this hectare of land in perpetuity as part of their dedication to scientific research and to the benefits we all receive from long-term forest conservation. The Perpetual Amazonia body of work consists of murals of plant species, hand-made fabric flowers, carefully rendered porcelain fragments and enlarged photographs that focus on details otherwise invisible to the human eye. Their experiences have helped shape an exhibition that weaves scientific, aesthetic and cultural paradigms to lend insight into the area’s huge diversity of living organisms and to the space they occupy in the planet’s evolution.

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