Lucy Orta

An introduction to the artist's merging of architecture, fashion and social activism.

Survey by Roberto Pinto, Interview by Nicholas Bourriaud, Focus by Maia Damianovic, Artist's Choice by Jorge Orta and Paul Virilio, Writings by Lucy Orta


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The work of Paris-based British artist Lucy Orta (b.1966) examines the social bonds within communities and the relationships between individuals and their environments, bridging the boundaries of the visual arts by merging fashion, social engagement, poetry and performance. In the early 1990s Orta began a series of works called Refuge Wear that combined architecture, fashion and social activism. This series took the form of tent-like mobile structures that transform into items of clothing, sleeping bags and bivouacs. Orta envisioned them as emergency structures for nomadic populations, for the homeless and for crisis situations such as earthquake zones.

Orta's work has since grown to incorporate interdisciplinary workshops, contemporary dance and other actions that explore notions of identity, shared space and networking. These projects include collaborations with such marginalized groups as the unemployed, the homeless and immigrants.

Her recent series of works, entitled Modular Architecture and Nexus Architecture, continue this theme of objects that are more symbolic than practically useful. The Nexus Architecture series has taken many forms, including garments formed like boiler-suits to be worn by multiple participants to represent the social links between people. Orta is currently the first Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Fashion at the London College of Fashion and heads the new MA programme 'Man and Humanity' at the Design Academy Eindhoven.

In the Survey, Italian curator Roberto Pinto traces the development of Orta's work and the social and political factors that her projects are a response to. French critic and curator Nicolas Bourriaud discusses with Orta her working practices in the Interview. In the Focus, Maia Damianovic examines in detail the work 70 x 7 The Meal, a dining project for an infinite number of discussions and encounters. For the Artist's Choice, Orta has selected a text by her husband, Argentinian artist Jorge Orta, with whom she frequently collaborates, and by French philosopher Paul Virilio, whose interests in urbanism and new technologies reflect their own. Orta's writings include preparatory drawings and diaries that record her projects, and an interview with Paul Virilio.


Format: Paperback
Size: 290 x 250 mm (11 3/8 x 9 7/8 in)
Pages: 160 pp
Illustrations: 150 illustrations
ISBN: 9780714843001

Roberto Pinto is an art critic and curator. He has curated many exhibitions, including the 5th Arte All'Arte exhibition (San Gimignano, 2000) and 'Short Stories' (La Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan, 2001).

Nicholas Bourriaud is a French critic, curator and theorist. Formerly Co-Director of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, he  is the author of Relational Aesthetics (1997) and the Director of Documents sur l'art, a bilingual magazine devoted to contemporary culture.

Maia Damianovic is a writer and curator. Among the exhibitions she has curated are 'Fractured Seduction' (Artifact Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1994), 'The Transformal' (Wiener Secession, Vienna, 1996) and 'The Invisible Touch' (Kunstraum Innsbruck, 2000).

On the Contemporary Artists Series

"The boldest, best executed, and most far-reaching publishing project devoted to contemporary art. These books will revolutionize the way contemporary art is presented and written about."—Artforum

"The combination of intelligent analysis, personal insight, useful facts and plentiful pictures is a superb format invaluable for specialists but also interesting for casual readers, it makes these books a must for the library of anyone who cares about contemporary art."—Time Out

"A unique series of informative monographs on individual artists."—The Sunday Times

"Gives the reader the impression of a personal encounter with the artists. Apart from the writing which is lucid and illuminating, it is undoubtedly the wealth of lavish illustrations which makes looking at these books a satisfying entertainment."—The Art Book

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