press release

The Galerie Peter Kilchmann is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of the artists Lucy (1966, Great Britain) and Jorge Orta (1953, Argentina) in Switzerland. In the main room of the gallery sculptures and drawings, which are directly linked to the project Fallujah will be displayed. In their latest project Fallujah, Lucy and Jorge Orta deal specifically with, the consequences caused by the American invasion of Iraq as well as the extreme detractions in the lives of people who reside in the war afflicted country. In the year 2003, Fallujah became the epitome of human suffering and military omnipotence and powerlessness. It formed the epicentre of the violent and enduring conflicts between Iraqi resistance fighters and American soldiers. For both artists this event and the meeting with writer Dr Jonathan Holmes, working on the script for the play Fallujah, encouraged them to reflect on the social, political and ethnic consequences of the Iraq War and on the media censorship that distorts our vision of the conflict. The exhibition in the gallery contains a selection of objects, which can be considered outcomes of their research and questions. Not only does the collection consist of objects of real artefacts from everyday life, such as chairs and shoes, but it also includes technical devices such as microphones and cameras or objects from troubled areas such as stretchers or water canisters. Lucy and Jorge Orta create with the help of these works idiosyncratic, but coherent symbioses of objects with a social scope and hereby demonstrate a new symbolic language. The artist couple Lucy and Jorge Orta lives in Paris and with their work often leave the static artistic space in order to cross the borders of Fine Arts and to interconnect disciplines such as fashion design, social engagement, criticism on political reality and interventionist arts. The Studio Orta stands out with its conceptual functioning and with a variety of artistic media: objects, drawings, couture, light projections, installations and other forms of expression, such as performance. Lucy and Jorge Orta mostly work in a collaborative and project-orientated way. Thematically they deal with current political events, such as the Iraq conflict and are concerned with social issues, such as the consequences of modern nomadism and mobility. Furthermore, they are searching for links between structures within society and social reality. Another focus of their work is their investigation into possibilities to sustainably improve quality of life while considering the consequences of demographic changes and different aspects of social inequality. Studio Orta has also made a name for itself with long-term projects such as Refugee Wear (1992-1998) and Body Architecture (1994-1998): Their way of responding to media images of Kurdish refugees after the Gulf War (1991) and the refugee caravans from Rwanda shortly after (1994), was to design multifunctional survival kits. The outcome of this idea is a wearable hybrid between protective clothing and a tent or a sleeping bag – a kind of architecture for the human body. This overall was designed to protect the war victims and to grant them improved chances of survival. Interventions and performances in public space within big cities such as London and Paris followed. Lucy and Jorge Orta have exhibited their works in well-known institutions since the nineties and have performed within public spaces with the same intensity This year, the project Fallujah will be shown as a monumental installation and as performance, a collaboration with Dr Jonathan Holmes (writer) and Mitin Sawhney (composer) in ICA offsite and the Southbank Centre London. In February 2007, Lucy and Jorge Orta have produced an important installation Antarctic Village (1990-2007) for The End of the World Biennale, which took place in Antarctica. Other exhibitions: Nexus Architecture, 9th Havana Biennale, Havana (2006), Water & Works, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2005), Drink Water, 51th Venice Biennale (2005), A Grain of Dust. A Drop of Water, Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (2004). On the occasion of the show Lucy Orta in Barbican Gallery, London (2005), a monograph was published by Phaidon.

Lucy & Jorge Orta
Lucy Orta
Fallujah - works in progress