Born in Rosario, Argentina (1953), Jorge studied simultaneously at the faculty of fine arts (1972–79) and the faculty of architecture (1973–80) of the Universidad Nacional de Rosario. He was a lecturer in the faculty of fine arts and a member of CONICET (National Scientific and Technical Research Council Argentina). He moved to France in 1984 receiving a scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign and European affairs to pursue a D.E.A. (Diplôme d’études approfondies) at the Sorbonne in Paris.
During his Rosario period (1972-1984) Jorge explored peripheral modes of expression and representation resulting from the extreme social and political context during the military dictatorship, championing the social role of art during this period of injustice and revolutionary violence. He was a pioneer of Video Art, Mail Art, and large-scale public performances and represented Argentina with Crónica Gráfica at the Biennale de Paris (1982). Jorge founded the interdisciplinary arts research groups Huaqui and CEAC, to create a bridge between contemporary art and mass audiences, staging public performances, Transcurso Vital (1978), Testigos Blancos (1982), Madera y Trapo (1983), Arte Portable (1983), and Fusion de Sangre Latinoamericana (1984). Jorge has published several manifestos, including: “Arte Constructor”, “Arte Catalizador” and “Utopias Fundadoras”.
A fire tragically destroyed his Paris studio in 1991, including the archive of his Argentine body of work and performances. After this life-transforming event he began the series Light Works, using light as a medium to inscribe a coded pictorial language on landscapes and sites of cultural significance across the world, including Mount Aso volcano, Japan; Cappadocia, Turkey; Zocòlo, Mexico City; Gorges du Verdon, France; and Venetian palaces along the Grand Canal, Italy, representing Argentina for the Venice Biennale (1995). The most extraordinary ephemeral work, Imprints on the Andes coincided with the contested 500-year anniversary of the discovery of the Americas in 1992. It was a five-week light-expedition across the Andes that culminated at the Inca citadel Machu Picchu and Sacsayhuamán during the Inti Raymi, witnessed by two-hundred thousand Peruvian Indians.
Jorge Orta co-founded the Studio Orta with his partner the British artist Lucy Orta in 1992. They have worked in partnership since 2005 under the co-authorship Lucy + Jorge Orta. Full CV of exhibitions available here.