Lucy + Jorge Orta’s collaborative practice focuses on social and ecological issues, employing a diversity of media – drawing, sculpture, installation, couture, painting, silkscreen, photography, video, light and performance – to realise major bodies of work. Amongst their most emblematic series are: Refuge Wear / Body Architecture: portable minimum habitats bridging architecture and dress; HortiRecycling / 70 x 7 The Meal: the local and global food chain and the ritual of community dining; Nexus Architecture: alternative modes of establishing the social link; The Gift: a metaphor for the heart and the biomedical ethics of organ donation; OrtaWater /Clouds: water scarcity and the problems arising from pollution and corporate control; Antarctica: highlights the urgent need to consider the dignity of people suffering as a consequence of climate change; and Amazonia: the value of the natural environment to our daily lives and to our survival.
In recognition of their contribution to sustainability, the artists received the Green Leaf Award in 2007 for artistic excellence with an environmental message, presented by the United Nations Environment Programme in partnership with the Natural World Museum at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway. In 2013 the artists’ monumental Meteoros was selected for the inaugural Terrace Wires public art commission for St Pancras International in London.
Orta’s artwork has been the focus of important survey exhibitions, including: The Curve, Barbican Art Gallery, London (2005); Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice Biennale (2005); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2006); Biennial of the End of the World, Ushuaia, Antarctic Peninsula (2007); Hangar Bicocca spazio d’arte, Milan (2008); Natural History Museum, London (2010); MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome and Shanghai Biennale (2012); Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2013); Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca and Parc de la Villette, Paris (2014); London Museum Ontario (2015).
Numerous monographs about their practice have been published, and their work can be found in public and private colletions around the world.
Lucy + Jorge Orta’s studios are located in central Paris and Les Moulins, a cultural complex founded by the artists along an 8km stretch of the Grand Morin valley in Seine-et-Marne. Les Moulins is as an extension of their practice; to establish a collective environment dedicated to artistic research and production of contemporary art. Informed by the natural environment and the industrial heritage, in particular the former mills and thriving paper making industry that once occupied the valley. The historical factories of Moulin Sainte-Marie, Moulin de Boissy, Moulin La Vacherie and La Laiterie are undergoing redevelopment to become artist studios, workshops, residencies, exhibition and performance spaces, and a 20-hectare sculpture park.