about the exhibition
New Works 01.3
Ordo Amoris Cabinet
November 08, 2001–January 13, 2002about the artists
Living and working in Havana, Cuba, Francis Acea and Diango Hernandez formed Ordo Amoris Cabinet in 1994. Acea was born in Havana, Cuba in 1967 and Hernandez was born in Sancti-Spiritus, Cuba in 1970. Attending the Havana Superior Institute of Design, Acea and Hernandez received their degrees in graphic and industrial design respectively and formed an artistic collaboration under the appellation of Ordo Amoris Cabinet, the Latin terms for “order” and “love.” Ordo Amoris Cabinet has exhibited widely in Cuba, Europe, Costa Rica, and Canada, and make their United States debut exhibition at ArtPace. Solo shows include various installations at the Center for the Development of the Visual Arts and the Center of Art and Design in Havana, Cuba; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo y Diseño, San Jose, Costa Rica; Banff Center for the Arts, Alberta, Canada; Kunsthaus Berlin, Germany; Seventh Havana Biennale, Living la Vida, Sinpalabras Studio, Havana, Cuba; and, the AFW Gallerie, Köln, Germany. Group shows include Champ Libre, Montreal, Canada; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, Cornerhouse, Manchester, Royal College of Art, London, and Camden Art Center, London, England; Fabbrica del Vappore Art Center, Milan, Italy; Suermondt-Ludwig Museum, Aachen, Germany; and the Tirana Biennial, Albania.
Their sculptural installations evoke a reconsideration of necessity through references to sociology, ethnography, and museology, and pose a thought-provoking statement on the realities of politics and material culture in Cuba.
Cuauhtémoc Medina, independent curator and art critic from Mexico City, Mexico, chose Ordo Amoris Cabinet for their ArtPace residency. Medina has written extensively on contemporary art and is a former curator of contemporary art at the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil in Mexico City.
about the project
Since 1994, Ordo Amoris Cabinet have been analyzing and infusing philosophical meaning into unremarkable, ordinary objects. Their sculptural installations are loaded with social and political criticisms and observations, primarily pertaining to the daily hardships and frustrations caused by the economic crisis and political establishment in their native Cuba. Highlighting a fascination toward the environment, objects, instruments and machines,
Ordo Amoris’s version of contemporary archeology was made public in 1996 at the Havana Center for the Development of the Visual Arts in their second solo exhibition, Agua con Azucar y La Muestra Provisional (Sugar Water and The Provisional Show). Their display of recycled objects, such as Object (Stove)- a stove constructed from a medicine tin, copper wire, a metal can, and fabric-provoked a reflection on the qualities of material culture in Cuba in the 1990s and the extremes necessary for survival in an environment lacking resources.
Technology’s interaction with and impact on people, information, and history is another source for Ordo Amoris’s work. Referencing our globally networked and rapidly accelerating society, the artists investigate concepts of equality, functionality, and necessity through digitalization. With interest in an overarching theme of duality, Ordo Amoris’s ArtPace project is a four-part installation composed of mouse pads used as floor coverings, a video projection of two identical screen-savers, two customized keys cast in bronze, and a collage created with digital prints of Cuban revolutionary posters. The artists live their sociology and politics by analyzing extraneous fragments of daily life and translating them into objects of art and design. Each segment of their ArtPace installation is loaded with allusions to the power of technology and the irony of the Cuban social, political, and economic reality.
Approximately 1,200 neoprene mouse pads carpet the entry of ArtPace, creating a photographic field over which the viewer must navigate. For Ordo Amoris, the mouse pads become stepping stones to access the world via the Internet, thereby enabling one to enjoy unlimited travel anywhere the Internet allows while never actually leaving one’s physical space. Thus exists the paradox of the Cuban situation: the physical boundary of the island versus the infinite freedom supplied by technology. In the upstairs gallery, a double-projection of a single computer screen-saver entices the viewer to consider man-made objects whose sole function are to serve technology. By definition, a screen-saver conserves a computer monitor and, although oftentimes beautiful and interesting, is not meant strictly for visual enjoyment. The customized keys cast in bronze are a reference to the artists’ creative partnership and to unlocking their futures and the future of Cuba. The final work, a digital collage of prints of political propaganda posters, brings the project full circle by boldly injecting Cuban politics into the installation and making a critical statement about the current regime’s oppressive nature, hostile politics, and the country’s impending and uncertain future.