Paris-based Lucy and Jorge Orta’s collaborative practice draws upon urgent issues of ecological and social sustainability to create artworks employing diverse media. Their signature works include Refuge Wear and Body Architecture (1992–1998), portable habitats bridging architecture and dress, which have been used by those without a home in Paris and Munich. Renowned critical art theorist Nicolas Bourriaud has described these works as “operational aesthetics.” Clouds, a series of sculptures assembled from recycled water bottles, and OrtaWater, mobile water units fabricated from boats and old vans, have addressed the increasing scarcity of clean water and the problems arising from its pollution and corporate control. This project helped them win the Green Leaf Award for Sculpture, given for artistic excellence with an environmental message, from the United Nations Environment Programme in partnership with the Natural World Museum, awarded at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, in 2007.
Why we love Lucy Orta and Studio Orta:
• Lucy’s functional body architecture provided clothing and shelter to Kurdish refugees and to individuals displaced by the Kobe earthquake
• Studio Orta addresses the scarcity of clean and accessible water by creating work that provides free drinking water by purifying previously polluted local sources
• Studio Orta blurred the line between teammate and opponent by creating a multi-national soccer jersey for a one-time match between teams of international scientists