29 October – 20 December 2003

Following our first exhibition with Diango Hernandez (* 1970) in 2001 (together with his partner Francis Acea as Ordo Amoris Cabinet), we are now presenting the comprehensive, hitherto unexhibited drawings by the Cuban artist, who now lives in Italy. We are also showing a number of new works.

“Mama could you give me birth again, I make a mistake” is written in ink on one sheet, on another a man is throwing up at the computer: “My race is sick” is written there. Again and again you recognize Hernandez’ face integrated into objects and events in his surroundings, in dreamt-up situations and absurd relationships. The artist himself, with a shark’s fin, stands at the window smoking, or has his hands and feet in buckets of water. Personal slogans such as “Art disappoint us” appear alongside weighty German terms such as “Kernlosigkeit” or “Geist/Masse” from books by Karl Marx. These are followed by a hand-made cannon, then a hand, whose shadow can be seen to resemble a devil, then some underwear. And so on.

Diango Hernandez took his time to discover drawing: at first, in particular, there were sketches for objects and installations on which he worked together with Francis Acea as OAC – for example the hand-made antennas shown here two years ago. Gradually drawing developed into Hernandez’ independent, everyday work, increasingly mirroring the artist’s personal realm of thoughts. Sometimes two, sometimes fifty sheets a day. Not a single one was destroyed. “Every day they became a larger part of me and I am sure they are a kind of extension of my body.”

Simple project sketches, comic-like episodes, impressionist dots of colour, texts.With a simple, yet exact line Hernandez ventures into the cast-off existence in a world whose banality and brutality seems to disturb, but also to amuse him. He uses every kind of paper available and permits crude combinations of techniques and materials; water colour, ballpoint pen, ink, oil, found and glued-on elements – everything is possible. The involvement with drawing takes place in full view on the pages themselves, taken as a whole they are a very personal studio for dealing with life, whether it takes place beyond the artist’s window or in his head.

Diango Hernandez, as in the installations by OAC, is searching for the sincerely-felt beauty of the imperfect, the improvised, or put abstractly, the crisis. Known as a Cuban permanent state of affairs, but familiar to everyone else in the comparatively perfect Western world, this kind of recognition is a means to live with the constantly unfulfilled promise of a better future, to which they react with obsession, humour and subversion. In this light in particular, those drawings which Diango Hernandez was forced to either tear out or blacken any ambiguous elements or texts on leaving Cuba, stand out as authentic testimonies.

New, recently-completed works supplement the exhibition and transpose some of Diango Hernandez’ ideas into a three-dimensional world.

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