Arqueología III, Patrimony Adrift
Atelier Morales, an artistic collaboration between Juan Luis Morales and Teresa Carolina Morales Ayuso, has developed an inquiry into the multiple facets of architectural patrimony over the past fifteen years. Cuba, the country of origin of the couple, is the principle source of their artistic production, founded especially on their drawings and photographs (www. ateliermorales.com). After Arqueología I (2014, observing places) and II (2015, home furnishing objects), this new series composed of eighteen pieces insists on the ruin and the reconstruction of places. The coloring of the drawn forms, extending the photography, accentuates the value of revealing details of a reconstruction operated on the Morales' archeological model.
These grand formats are singular documents that retouching, collage, and well-dissimulated double exposure transform into even more compelling evidence of the decomposition of worlds. In other terms, the representations of anonymous places of ruin signal that the generations have lived there long before their their departure for other modes of existence. The Morales' anthropological look searches to interest spectators and engage them to examine images from elsewhere. Knowing or not of the foundations of Atelier Morales' work, one undoubtedly is intrigued by these large compositions. They silently evoque the sociology and history of Cuban families, customs, and living areas by use of abandoned objects, collapsed walls pierced with light, and various remnants. Then, little by little, one will discover the phantom figure of an archeologist at work, coming from an image of interest; a poem of Eliseo Diego (1920-1994), Arqueología, speaking of the desolation of abandoned places, inlaid retrospectively on a piece of cracked wall by the artists; the figure of a bath towel, a child portrait, furniture arrangements, perspectives. One perhaps senses a sort of nostalgia during the course of this promenade, because that which had fled irreversibly leaves itself in deep traces, in ephemeral appearances. Cer- tain will recognize the characteristics of Havanaise architecture, of furniture, reminiscent of new resorts that replace old houses without hesitation. In this particular experience, it was essential to photograph the interiors quickly during a few open a few hours, leaving all sorts of surprises. After surveying the land, developing the images was slow, meditated, and measured--leaving room for the imagination and memory of both artists.
Atelier Morales searches in the past as well as the present, for expressing the urgency of protecting patrimonial sites that are quickly destroyed or deliberately wrecked, in Cuba and elsewhere (Je suis Liberté, 2015). The architectural method nourishes their artistic demarche, at the intersection of different domains of research. The Moraleses rigorously and pre- cisely describe these domestic, ruined spaces, where the desire for liberty poetically resounds. They enlarge the pieces, embellishing them without denying their disintegration, their loneliness; they reveal what is latent. And one is free to in- quire into these secret and lived habitations. One can meditate on the sense of existence by circulating rooms in salons and by this archaeological series of numbered boxes according in the Moraleses' excavation campaign. Large sheets of drawings and colors then become thresholds stations, or sociology. To note is also to rebuild and therefore, to work.
by Hélène Sirven
Teresa Ayuso (b. 1961) and Juan Luis (b. 1961) were born in Havana, Cuba. Both artists live and work in Paris.
Juan Luis Morales is a professor at l'Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture, La Vilette, Paris, France. He graduated with architecture diplomas from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture, of La Vilette, Paris, and from the Escuela de Arquitectura, Universidad de La Habana, in Cuba. Juan Luis Morales also completed his doctoral studies in Architecture from the Escuela Técnica Superior Arquitectura of Madrid, Spain.
Teresa Ayuso completed her studies in industrial design at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico. She also earned her degree in Architecture from the Escuela de Arquitectura, Universidad de La Habana, Cuba.
Since 1994 Teresa Ayuso and Juan Luis Morales have continuously undertaken urban architecture projects. Their work has been exposed internationally in numerous exhibitions and fairs since 1997. Atelier Morales has had solo shows in Mexico City, Paris, Zürich, Miami, Basel, and Marseille, among other cities.
Their importance as contemporary architects and artists is evidenced by their inclusion in the Venise Biennal of 2013, the 55th International Art Exhibition entitled Personal Structures; the show Disrupted Nature at the Museum of Latin Ame- rican Art in Los Angeles, USA in 2013; and the 11th Biennal of Havana with Galería Servando Cabrera of Havana, Cuba.