Héctor Zamora
Ordre et Progrès
Palais de Tokyo, Orbe NY
Curator : Vittoria Matterese
02.05.2016 – 14.05.2016


All that remains of Héctor Zamora’s performance, on the evening of 2nd May 2016, is some debris of metal and wood. Such are the traces left of the repetitive, destructive movements of a team of performers in work clothes and hard hats, who took apart five fishing boats. A simple protocol, executed blindly, sufficed to change this exhibition space into a naval graveyard.

From the initial vessels – like large-format ready-mades – to the final debris, the piece plays on the evolving relationship between form and space. Its sculptural aspect also derives from the act of demolition. In this way, Héctor Zamora “dissolves the imaginary promises that these boats convey”. This dissolution under axe-blows expresses the brutal transformation of the fishing industry and the violence of worldwide socio-economic upheavals. The artist thus short-circuits the vision of history as perpetual progress of Auguste Comte (1798-1857), the French philosopher from whom the title “Order and Progress” has been taken. In this way, Héctor Zamora questions the very direction of this positivist doctrine: can progress be born from disorder?

Héctor Zamora was born in 1974 in Mexico City. This work resides in a continuity with the political and social thought in his previous projects: Atopic Delirium (2009) and Every Belgian is born with a brick in the stomach (2008).


Boats symbolise adventure and discovery, a hope for shelter, or the possibility of survival in a hostile environment.
While conveying an imaginary nurtured by the great mythological epics, today they have become symbolically connected to the migrant crisis or to the moto of Paris ‘Fluctuat nec mergitur’ – tossed but not sunk.”