Elliot and Erick Jiménez photograph acquired by Orlando Museum of Art

The Orlando Museum of Art has acquired a new work by Miami-based twin artists Elliot and Erick Jiménez, winners of the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art 2023 People’s Choice Award. Elliot and Erick Jiménez are the first collaborative artist team to be presented in the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art exhibition.

Their photography functions within the space between the two mediums of photography and painting. The canon of European art history and their Cuban heritage inspire their aesthetic approach. Since an early age, they have been involved in a religious practice native to Cuba called Lucumí, more popularly known as Santeria. A pantheistic religion, Lucumí arose by combining the beliefs and practices of the Yoruba people, who once comprised most of the enslaved people of Cuba, and Roman Catholicism, the sanctioned religion of the island’s Spanish Colonial rulers.

Although the images are captured with a camera, they have a painterly feel and refer to some of art history’s most iconic paintings.     

The Grand Odalisque (2022), Elliot and Erick’s rendition of a famous painting by Jean Auguste Dominique IngresLa Grande Odalisque (1814), on permanent display at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France— includes an androgynous figure portrayed with long lines and in an elegant pose. The original painting is of an odalisque or concubine, and it is regaled for the elongated proportions and lack of anatomical realism. When Ingres’ work was first shown, it received extensive criticism for exactly the same reasons the work is renowned today. Ingres prioritized the long lines and exotic details over anatomical correctness.  

In the work by the Jiménez brothers, the drapery of the background remains, although this time, it is yellow, a color that refers to Oshun, the Orisha of sensuality, beauty, and fertility in the Lucumí tradition. As is typical in the work of the Jiménez brothers, the figure is mysterious nonetheless, and the lack of detail in the background gives the impression that the sitter could be anywhere and could be anyone.

One of the most notable criticisms of Ingres’ Odalisque is that she appeared to have no elbow—Elliot and Erick make that clever reference in their version. The sitter is almost entirely composed of long undefined lines—like a flattened silhouette cutout—with their only notable feature being their short hair.

The body is covered in gems resembling stars, elevating the figure to the status of someone worth admiring, such as a deity, a sovereign or a celebrity. 

The work was purchased by the Orlando Museum of Art’s Acquisition Trust (AT), with funds provided by the Charles E. Meiner Acquisition Trust Endowment Fund. OMA’s Acquisition Trust is a membership-based organization that contributes annual dues to fund the acquisition of contemporary art produced after 1970. Since its founding in 1984, AT has built a significant collection of contemporary art for the Orlando Museum of Art and the Central Florida community.

The OMA’s Contemporary Art Collection is now the largest section of the Museum’s permanent collection. It includes artwork by internationally recognized artists such as Kerry James Marshall, Robert Rauschenberg, Nick Cave, and Bisa Butler. This is the fourth work by participating Florida Prize artists purchased by the Acquisition Trust, furthering the OMA’s commitment to the art of our time, and to supporting artists who live and work in our State. 

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