Décret n.º 1 (Decree No. 1)

Rogelio López Cuenca

Nerja, Malaga, Spain, 1959
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  • Material: 
    Industrial paint, galvanized steel and concrete
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    Installation created for Expo ’92 in Seville, made up of 24 urban signs (23 of which are still conserved) with visual poems in different languages and on an original base with the exhibition logo
  • Dimensions: 
    Each part: 300 x 100 x 17 cm
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  • Sculpture donated by Sociedad Estatal para la Exposición Universal Sevilla 92, especially created for the event by the author

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Décret n.º 1 (Decree No. 1) was originally conceived for Seville’s Expo'92. The artist’s idea was to look at how the urban landscape had become standardised through signage, along the usual lines of his work, consisting of breaking down society’s messages and icons. López Cuenca designed a set of 24 signs to be put up inside the exhibition venue. They were identical to institutional information signage in format, lettering and colours, but had very different texts and icons, loaded with irony and confusion. Where official signs informed, López Cuenca’s signs disinformed, presenting a mixture of languages and a deliberate disassociation from the surroundings. The title of the piece comes from the text Decree No. 1 on the Democratisation of the Arts, published in the Moscow Futurists’ Futurist Gazette in 1918, promoting the idea of the dissolution of artistic activity in everyday life. Decret nº 1 was supposed to be put up throughout the venue on Seville’s Isla de la Cartuja during the Universal Exhibition; however, on the day before the opening the pieces were taken away and put into storage, an act that nullified the discourse of institutional criticism, alteration of language and appropriation of public space that they set out to present.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio