Thursday, January 31, 2008

February 5 Lucy Orta Speaks at Reed

Fashion communicates a complex message at a distance. So too does the best art. Lucy Orta studied fashion, expanding into artwork, architecture, installation and sculpture. All focused on social issues, such as sustainability, human rights, living standards, nationality, social connection and exclusion. She works solo and with her partner Jorge Orta, showing extensively, worldwide and teaching at a top school, the London University of the Arts in a very progressive College of Fashion.

Early works were experiments in clothing which were later echoed in the work of Kosuke Tsumura's Final Home, (.) and Mary Mattingly (.) and Seattle's Susan Robb (.). Orta is more explicitly political.

Later work includes interconnected garments, machines, political work referencing the Iraq war, and a series of fabric igloo tents installed in Antarctica, where countries collaborate on science research, including on climate and fundamental physics.

Food+Water are social art works. One food project collected fresh fruits and vegetables discarded as overripe or with cosmetic defects by sellers at the greenmarkets of Paris. The produce was transformed into a communal meal by top chef volunteers. The project was repeated in a depressed farm town in the French countryside. Water is life, so necessary. Plants are brilliant, absorbing any old water and purifying it. Humans are the reverse. We are so lucky here with pretty pure water on tap. Not so in many parts of the world. Orta developed a sculptural small scale water purification system. Installed in a museum in Venice, it piped water from the very dank Grand Canal and transformed it into drinking water. Orta is working on incorporating the project sensitively into the real lives of villagers in Burkina Faso; approaching relevance from the art direction, compared to approaching it from the technology direction as does Amy Smith.

Orta speaks at Reed College in the Vollum Lecture Hall 7PM Free