Born in Cuba in 1970, Hernández moved to Europe in 2003 and currently lives and works between Havana and Düsseldorf

Groups

The New Décor Group exhibition curated by Ralph Rugoff at Hayward Gallery

fter studying Industrial Design in Havana in the early 1990s, Diango Hernández became one of the founders of Ordo Amoris Cabinet, a Cuban artists’ and designers’ collective. This group’s particular focus was the ‘provisional aesthetic’ of making do and getting by adopted by ordinary people during Cuba’s ‘Special Period’, the years acute economic crisis caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union. A decade later, Hernández left Cuba, which trade embargoes and extensive censorship had isolated from the rest of the world, and moved to Europe in order ‘to know more, lear and do more’. Since then, all of Hernández’s works – Paintings, drawings, collages, installations and sculpture – has constituted and investigation into the ‘realities hidden beyond the realities’ of revolutionary Cuba and its failed Utopia. ‘I cannot detach myself from my past’ he insist. ‘On the contrary. the past has became like a wardrobe from which I can take out memories and experiences to re-anylise or re-elavorate. No, tea, no sofa, no me (2009) fuses reflection, longing and reverie, and meditates on frustrated desires for intellectual life in Hernández’s homeland. The installation consists of three principal elements: the of a dismantled sofa frame and its dislocated arm (both of which are supported by speakers cabinets), and a skeletal lamp shade through which is threaded a pair a pait of workman’s trouser. The objects displayed in this comfortless roomscape point to specific conditions in Cuba: the elegant teacup balanced precariously on the back of the sofa is empty (tea has been unobtainable for domestic use since the 1960s); the light bulb cannot be used (incandescent lighting has been banned since 2005); the plate commemorating President and Mrs John Kennedy dates from the begging of the USA’s boycott; and the box of matches comes from the period of the Soviet Union’s support for Cuba. Besides these presences there are also some significant absents, notably in the lack of anything to read (in Castro’s Cuba there were no books except those sanctioned by the regime). Against this is the fact that the speakers – which in other works by Hernández give voice to ranting speeches – are silent. Light is recurring theme in Hernández’s work and often makes reference to the power cuts that everyday occurrence in Cuba. In Leg me, chair me, love me (2010), a new commission for the Hayward, a wounded, three leg chair waits to be reunited with its missing limb, which circles alongside it on slowly revolving floor. Every so often, when the forth leg momentarily resumes its proper place and the piece of furniture becomes whole again, the light hanging nearby comes on, briefly illuminating the miraculously intact chair. Then the leg moves on, the light goes off, and the chair again becomes an amputee. ...

Homesick Group exhibition curated by Peter Gorschlüter at "Touched" The 10th Liverpool Biennial

any artists have transformed  temporarily museum’s rooms or commercial galley’s spaces into their “homes”. In these spaces they’ve lived for days, weeks and sometimes even months. The idea of seeing, assuming, accepting or transforming the “white cube” into a living space has many social, political and of course cultural implications. Most of these artist’s performances have shown the way the artist eat, sleep, read, write, socialize, etc. They have introduced in this way the everyday life of ‘the artist’ as somethings whether extraordinary significant, meaningful and inspiring or just plain boring. The visitor in most of the cases has been transformed into a witness but also often into a voyeur. A recent visit to the DEUTSCHES HYGIENE-MUSEUM in Dresden recalled an “sleeping idea” I had many years ago while watching a picture of the “The Tomb-Death of the Hippie” (Paul Thek 1967). The “sleeping idea” it was very simple and it seems that while sleeping all these years it was growing in silence until it woke up while I was standing in front of a 1:1 sculptural arrangement made in the 20′s that illustrates a native amazonian family dressing all their typical costumes, standing in a little piece of land that had also some representative vegetation of the area that this family used to inhabited. A house beside all we know about it is anything but a strange embodiment of our deepest and most ancient fears. Houses are permanent monuments to fear. Houses not only proof our physical fragility but also our need to have bigger, stronger and longer lasting bodies, bodies that we can whether rent or buy, that can be in blue or in white. But we know a house is not home. Home is an abstract and highly relative concept but home appears to me as the container of all the happiness that exist in our universe. “The Tomb-Death of the Hippie” for some reasons made me write this sentence in my memory: “home is everywhere”. But at that time I have immediately contradicted this idea, opening the following question: -If home is everywhere then can I travel and live in many different places without ever looking back?, is that possible? The answer came to me years later looking at this “family” (sculptural arrangement at the DEUTSCHES HYGIENE-MUSEUM): -I was already homesick before leaving the place I have born. Everything has a patina for instance the air, the light, a friend and of course home. This patina that comes together with every single particle and with every single moment it is impossible to remove, this patina always existed and always controlled our memories and played beautifully with our emotions. Home can be certainly everywhere we want it but for some reasons to touch again the first chair we have ever touched make us breath in a beautiful rhythm. ...

Stanza per un bambino di sinistra Group exhibition "Neues Rheinland" curated by Stefanie Kreuzer at Museum Morsbroich

“Marginal zones of revolutionary everyday life” by Ursula Frohne iango Hernández’s works illuminate the art-life of the revolutionary spirit of a movement that was political and artistic in equal measure. His subtle Moses-en-scène not only conjure up the economy of scarcity in Cuba – many observers harbor exoticizing ideas about the Caribbean version of socialism- but also point to a particular pathology that is characteristic of political as much as aesthetic systems of all stripes once they employ absolute control over the individual to further their ideological aims. His keen sense for the absurd aspects of a faded revolutionary pathos invents images and spaces that speak about the radical spirit of modernity as well as the daily deprivations in the anachronistic all-encompassing project of a collective that has broken free of history. Basic commodities manufactured out of Coca-Cola cans, antennas built from scrap metal: minimalisms of everyday life whose bricolage aesthetic emerges as a counter-utopia set against participation in an egalitarian social order project. Made out of the arsenals of an ideology justified makeshift economy, these stopgap solutions function as aggregates of longing against the excessive demands of utopian promises. Yet Cuba is not the only place where Hernández discovers such paradoxical repurposing of western confining goods: he finds instances wherever the signs indicating the dominance of the northern over the southern hemisphere define the conditions of contemporary life as well as the art system. By turning his attention to the marginal zones of everyday lives determined by political ideology, he avoids culture-critical denunciations in the vein of ‘wrong life cannot be lived rightly’. The poetic power of his works is evident in their particular emphatic sense for the contradictions of today’s world order, which Hernández takes seriously as a part of his own socialization without transforming them into a nostalgic yearning for lost ideas. His memory-images, whose efficacy is as individual as it is collective, spur us to think about changing political as well as artistic attitudes; there are overtones of ‘desengaño’, an elegiac disillusionment that has always followed upon utopian enthusiasm. To our contemporary eyes, the peculiar aura of that economy of scarcity -specially when considering in comparison with the wealth of consumer choices offered by a politics that puts growth above all else- seems like the clarion call of a future that will yet have to face a radically different way of using the resources that remain. In this perspective, Hernández’s descriptions of the status quo function both as a critical mirror and as a reservoir of utopian energy. The political is inevitable a part of this practice that anchors poetic moments in the constellation of the social world; for as Rancière writes, ‘the sense of communication requires sensual representation.’ It is here that Hernández’s art becomes political: in its alternative to politics, and as the expression of an irresistible poetry that transcends aesthetic boundaries and fuses culture. The show Neues Rheinland. Die postironische Generation (The New Rhineland. The Post-ironic Generation) will present the first comprehensive museum exhibition of artists born predominantly in the 1970s and who now live and work in the Rhineland. Comprising 30 positions, the show devises a panorama of a generation guided by communal interest in specific themes following on from established historic trends in the Rhineland, ranging from ZERO Kunst to the postmodern protagonists from the 1980s: out of the rejection of a remote ironic attitude, which characterized both social as well as the discourse within art since the 1980s, a new inclination towards seriousness and engagement, but also humor, began to develop. While the generation of their “teachers” was confronted by a world whose antiquated, polarized systems of power were is dissolution, those individuals born in the 1970s grew into a world in which globalization and an unfettered capitalism constituted the status-quo. If 1980s artists reacted to the fundamental transformation of their social system by using the repeated disjuncture and mirroring of irony, it would seem by contrast that cutting “ambiguity” has become something of a blunt instrument in the stylistic arsenal of a new generation of artists at the start of the twenty-first century. Applied thematic approaches, such as the orientation towards people, their corporeality as well as their utopian ideals, determine the scope of today’s artistic inquiry. In this connection, the post-ironists try out traditional methods in a new way: they concentrate their energies on more marginal media such as ceramics, woodcuts or silhouettes and endeavor to find a natural, at times emphatically crafts-man-like engagement with their chosen materials, their characteristics and qualities, as well as metaphorical dimensions. The artists in question approach their subject matter which for its part may well be geared towards selected modernist positions in post-ironic fashion and in an artistic process characterized by seriousness. Deploying a large number of diverse media ranging from painting, photography, collage, via installations, sculptures and spatial interventions, all the way to video and animation the exhibition traces the manifold strategies of post-ironic thinking. Although the works refrain from using irony, they are by no means devoid of humor: indeed, it is at this very threshold between irony and humor that the presentation generates its thesis regarding a new artistic generation in the Rhineland, which, as the leading location for art training and the most dense regional concentration worldwide of cultural institutions, possesses unique status as a barometer of international developments.   A exhibition catalogue will be published by the Distanz Verlag in German and English with essays by Jörg Heise r, Stefanie Kreuzer and Noemi Smolik , a preface by Markus Heinzelmann , as well as 30 short texts on individual artistic positions by writers living in the Rhineland, such as Fritz Emslander, Ursula Frohne, Renate Goldmann , Ulrike Groos, Lilian Haberer, Barbara Hess, Markus Heinzelmann , Michael Heym, Georg Imdahl, Nadia Ismail, Gregor Jansen , Stefanie Jansen, Christian Jendreiko, Rita Kersting, Stefanie Kreuzer , Doris Krysto f , Thomas W. Kuhn, Catrin Lorch, Paola Malavassi, Markus Mascher , Petra Pechtheyden, Renate Puvogel, Sabine Maria Schmidt , Christiane ...

The New Décor Group exhibition curated by Ralph Rugoff at Garage, Moscow

UANTUM TUNNELING (the ghost we love) by Diango Hernández. Ein Gespenst geht um in Europa… There has been some reports that testify the present of certain people that eventually can walk through walls, just like ghosts do. A hanging round ball lamp is crossing through 4 different spaces and at the same time is theoretically lighting these four spaces. The four spaces which can be seen as four different apartments are sharing a single ceiling lamp, but since the lamp can’t be at the same time in all four apartments then while one of them is lit the others three are in “darkness”. There will be a wall drawing in each of these four “apartments”, a drawing that describes an undefined image, a very soft drawing without lines, edges or corners a drawing that maybe transform each of these walls into a very soft and special type of element. Maybe a type of element that our bodies can cross through. -I’ll make the wall drawings while I’ll be in Moscow. The New Décor is an international survey of contemporary artists who incorporate elements of furniture or interior design in their works. Liberated from the constraints of functionality, these objects look as though they could belong in a fantastical model home: a bed in the shape of the Los Angeles freeway overpass, a sci-fi inspired chandelier, a chain-mail hammock with leather tassels, and a table that floats in space. By dismantling the borders between interior decoration, sculpture and installation art, the familiar forms of furniture and lighting are reinvented to reflect on the social, historical and psychological narratives embedded in everyday objects.   Catalogue: Essays by Hal Foster, Michelle Kuo and Ralph Rugoff. Artists include Gelitin, Mona Hatoum, Diango Hernández, Jim Lambie, Los Carpinteros, Sarah Lucas, Ernesto Neto, Doris Salcedo and Franz West. 156pp/ hardback/ 120 colour illustrations. ...

Homage to stop Group exhibition curated by Ulrike Gross "Larger than life stranger than fiction" at 11th Triennale, Fellbach, Germany

ie Umkehrung von Größenverhältnissen, die Miniaturisierung und das kleine Format sind in der bildenden Kunst und Literatur seit jeher Mittel der Verfremdung, um menschliche Werte und das sich wandelnde gesellschaftliche Selbstverständnis zum Ausdruck zu bringen. Bereits in den Wunderkammern der Renaissance trifft man auf Fantasiewesen, Memento Mori-Darstellungen, Miniaturkunst wie auch wissenschaftliche Apparaturen und Naturalien, in denen das Wissen der Zeit als enzyklopädische Universalsammlung dargeboten wurde. Auch in den nachfolgenden Jahrhunderten bildeten komprimierte Welten wie Tabletop, Diorama, Puppenhaus oder Modelleisenbahn Denk- und Anschauungsmuster, in denen Fantasie und Realität miteinander verschmolzen. Die Besonderheit der Darstellung solcher ‘Weltmoleküle’ ist auch in der zeitgenössischen Skulptur ungebrochen. Im bildhauerischen Repertoire der Gegenwart schließt sich nicht nur thematisch, sondern auch formal der Kreis zu historischen Vorläufern wie Wunderkammer und Diorama. Angesichts unserer globalen und komplexen Lebenswelt gewähren kleinformatige und kleinmaßstäbliche Kunstwerke einen zugespitzten, da verknappten und zugleich konzentrierten Blick auf die Realität. Verbinden sich mit dem kleinen Format zuweilen kindliches Staunen oder ‘Heile Welt- Gedanken’, kontrastiert in den ausgewählten Positionen Spielerisches und Kurioses mit drastischen Darstellungen kollektiver wie individueller Abgründe. Mit Werken von etwa 50 internationalen Künstlerinnen und Künstlern zeigt die 11. Triennale Kleinplastik Fellbach überwiegend aktuelle Werke mit für die Ausstellung neu produzierten Arbeiten neben älteren Werken und historischen Referenzobjekten, um das ‘Kleine’ in seinem ästhetischen Eigenwert und mit seinen inhaltlichen Möglichkeiten aufzuzeigen. Neben Skulpturen und Skulpturenensembles werden Videos und Filme ausgestellt, deren Protagonisten Knet- und Marionettenfiguren sind. Das Verhältnis von Form und Maß(stab), die Ausdrucksmöglichkeiten von Material, dessen Stofflichkeit und Haptik sowie das Spektrum an Präsentationsmöglichkeiten – ergänzend zum klassischen Skulpturensockel – bilden dabei eine eigene künstlerische Qualität. LARGER THAN LIFE – STRANGER THAN FICTION zeigt den Menschen in seinem Lebensumfeld, den multiplen sozialen und inneren Beziehungsgefügen, deren Fragilität vor allem in Brüchen und Widersprüchen zutage tritt. Ausgehend von einer äußeren Sicht auf das Menschsein arbeitet sich die Ausstellung von der Welt als Ganzem über die Natur, urbane Lebenswelten und ihre Bewohner bis zu verborgenen Innenwelten vor. Mit Mitteln der Erzählung, Metapher oder Allegorie sowie Symbol und Metonymie fungieren die Arbeiten als Pars pro toto für verschiedenartigste Sichtweisen auf die Welt, ihre Mythen und Historie. Vom Fundstück bis zum technisch aufwendig hergestellten Objekt, präsentiert in Guckkästen, Installationen und begehbaren Räumen entfaltet LARGER THAN LIFE – STRANGER THAN FICTION facettenreiche Perspektiven, in denen vertraute Dinge durch Proportionsverschiebungen reizvolle, befremdliche oder unheimliche Dimensionen gewinnen. Much modern art is monumental, but the Kleinplastik Fellback Triennial is all about all things small, as this intriguing exhibition catalog proves. This is the eleventh version of the acclaimed show, which is celebrating its 30th year – it began in 1980. The catalog underlines the Triennial’s reputation for cutting-edge, risky art with an unusual international roster of 60 artists living and dead, including Charles & Ray Eames, Javier Téllez, Thomas Schütte, Marcel Dzama, Chen Zhen and Chu Yun. With sculptures, installations, video, film and puppetry, ranging from peep shows to walk-in rooms, the diverse forms in Larger than Life – Stranger than Fiction explore sexy, strange and sinister dimensions, all tiny – yet, in meaning, very, very large.   Catalogue: September 2010 / English & German / Exhibition catalog, Softcover / 8 5/8 x 11 1/8 inches / 352 pp / 300 color, ISBN: 978-3-940953-53-7 ...

Goldene Zeiten Group exhibition curated by Patrizia Dander and Julienne Lorz at Haus der Kunst, Munich

The presentation of Hernández’s works is defined by Years (2008), a fragile construction of rusty steel. The skeletal partition consists of numbers, namely of the years 1959 to 2008 in descending order that in their objectification can be walked along as if it were an inverted timeline. The time frame is determined by Fidel Castro’s term in office – from the time he became Cuba’s premier in 1959 to his age-related resignation as president in spring 2008. Years, thereby, functions as a raster or ‘glasses’ through which one can read the other works in the space: the country’s history since the ...

Revolution and Frustrated modernism by a social revolution Group exhibition "Revolutionen des Alltäglichen" curated by Stefanie Kreuzer at Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen

The exhibition Ordinary Revolutions brings together eight contemporary Latin American artists and showcases their respective conceptual approaches. Using a variety of different media such as sculpture, installation, video, collage and drawing, the artists play with the origins of their source material and its individual poetic qualities, as well as with the sheer complexity of the inherent allusions and ...

Happy Birthday dear President Group exhibition "Whose (His)Story" curated by Yilmaz Dziewior at Kunstverein Hamburg

he international group exhibition Wessen Geschichte / Whose (His)Story brings together works by young artists who explore the pasts of their respective home countries in a range of ways. Among questions addressed by the exhibited works are the following: How are the different aspects of (auto)biographical and of national significance related? How does public media discourse deal with social, political, and cultural issues of the past today? What role does historical context play in contemporary art production? The exhibited works reflect problems of collective identity in an era of economic and cultural globalization, among other things by exploring the upheavals taking place in eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Individual experience issuing from personal involvement in such processes invariably plays an important role. Whilst a number of the artists taking part in the exhibition no longer live in their home countries, they still sometimes view historical developments they were exposed to in their youth as constitutive of their current work. Yet not only transcontinental events are featured. The exhibition confronts the history of the German Federal Republic, presenting works that deal, for instance, with the phenomenon of the “Deutscher Herbst.” Apart from their involvement with concrete political situations, the works handle topics that surpass issues of nations and states: interpersonal conflicts, material and abstract ideals, and the need to take the complexity of historical events into account are some of the stimuli behind works exhibited in Wessen Geschichte / Whose (His)Story. The strategies employed range from the decidedly analytic and scientific to a more intuitively atmospheric involvement with historical facts. Sometimes a highly subjective, personal view of history is opposed to official history. Imagination and facts can constitute a productive opposition when, for instance, a distancing strategy is brought to bear on real events by means of irony and alienation.   Participating artists: Andreas Bunte, Mircea Cantor, Diango Hernández, Andree Korpys/Markus Löffler, Gabriel Kuri, Little Warsaw, Victor Man, Silke Schatz and Haegue Yang. Happy Birthday dear President by Diango Hernández On the 7th of December 2002 a particular event happened in the Revolution Square in Havana, this time it wasn’t a Fidel Castro’s speech or a military parade, it was a massive chess game that was intended to be the largest world’s simultaneous chess game of the chess history. This massive popular manifestation organized by the Cuban government it was broadcasted by all the national television channels plus followed by all the national radio stations. Again as many other times the mechanism of propaganda implemented by the officials in Cuba has worked. People forgot at least for one day how dramatic is their economic and political situation and the most important thing, people was glad that we could make the messiest chess game of all times. I only went there in the late evening when the game was over and you could only see a colossal amount of tables and chairs making endless lines in front of the monument that has witnessed almost everything in Cuba in the last 50 years. The square was empty and the empty chairs where transforming the monument into something else, into a stage for an abandoned game. I ask to myself if is possible to abandon a doctrine that has formed you. If there will be the possibility of building a memorial for those who has failed, for the dissidents, for the unhappy friends in Cuba that haven’t left the country but have abandoned the game.   Catalogue: Wessen Geschichte. Vergangenheit in der Kunst der Gegenwart: Jahresring 56 Jahrbuch für moderne Kunst, Pages: 304 Seiten, Publisher: Verlag der Buchhandlung König (12. Oktober 2009), Language: Englisch, Deutsch, ISBN-10: 3865607101, ISBN-13: 978-3865607102, 23,6 x 17 x 2 cm ...

Circles, loops Group exhibition "Kongress der Futurologen" curated by Thomas Neumann at ICA Dunaujvaros, Hungary

elche Vorstellungen von der Zukunft haben wir heute? Welche Ideen gab es in der Vergangenheit und wie und wo wurden sie umgesetzt? Leben wir jetzt in der Zukunft, die man sich damals ausgemalt hat? Schauen wir heute anders in die Zukunft als es die Menschen in der Vergangenheit getan haben? Exemplarisch überprüft werden diese Fragen an besonders zukunftsträchtigen Orten – in den Planstädten Eisenhüttenstadt und Dunaujvaros. Beides ursprünglich “Stalinstädte”, die ab 1950 aufgebaut wurden und beide auf der Stahlindustrie basierend. Eine parallele Struktur und Entwicklung, die sich erst nach dem Fall des Eisernen Vorhanges 1990 aufsplittet. Die Transformationsprozesse der 1990er Jahre haben diese Städte jeweils tiefgreifend verändert. Der Titel KONGRESS DER FUTUROLOGEN ist angelehnt an einen Buchtitel von Stanislaw Lem – “Der futurologische Kongreß” aus dem Jahr 1974. Der KONGRESS ist ein Ausstellungsprojekt, das durch den Titel sowohl seine Forschungsambition als auch seine künstlerische Fiktion anklingen lässt. Die Arbeiten der deutschen KünstlerInnen entstehen größtenteils durch ortsbezo-gene Recherchen in Eisenhüttenstadt und treffen auf Werke ungarischer/interna-tionaler KünstlerInnen, die in Dunaujvaros erarbeitet werden. Die beteiligten KünstlerInnen haben jeweils ganz eigene Strategien gefunden, wie sie mit dem “futurologischen” Erbe umgehen und wie sie aus dem künstlerischen “Material” Vergangenheit zeitgenössisch relevante Arbeiten machen können. Durch den komparativen Ansatz möchte das Projekt eine ästhetische Auseinandersetzung zwischen den beteiligten KünstlerInnen einerseits fördern und andererseits dem Publikum verschiedene Betrachtungsperspektiven aufzeigen. Die Ausstellung soll den Umgang mit den Versprechen der Vergangenheit thematisieren und dabei unseren heutigen Standpunkt dazu ausloten. Der KONGRESS DER FUTUROLOGEN soll einen Vergleich der Fragestellungen und der Perspektiven ermöglichen, sowie die Grundlage für eine weiterführende Zusammenarbeit schaffen. ...

Domestic monuments Group exhibition "XXIe Ateliers internationaux" curated by Laurence Gateau at Frac des Pays de la Loire

“Diango Hernández, Domestic Monuments” by Pierre Tillet he link between art and merchandise explored by John Miller. The microstate created in Rotterdam by the Atelier Van Lieshout. The memorial to the victims of Guantanamo by Gianni Motti. World Trade Monopoly by Öyvind Fahlström. Self-Portrait Exaggerating My Negroid Features by Adrian Piper. The re-enactment of the bloody miners’ strike against the iron policy of Margaret Thatcher orchestrated by Jeremy Deller and filmed by Mike Figgis. The relationship of contemporary artists to politics has been much commented upon. The emphasis has thus been placed on the critical dimension of art (towards capitalism, imperialism, ideologies, history written by the victors, the system of art itself, etc.), its utopian aspect (for example, in the “Utopia Station” project by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Molly Nesbit) or its ties to activism (art and feminist and antiracist demands, the questioning of the notion of community). With Diango Hernández, the relationship between art and politics is not the result of a theoretical position or activism. It refers to a real-life experience, to a specific form of bios politikos. “I grew up as a political being,” explains the Cuban artist, who lives and works in Düsseldorf. “Like many children of my generation, every day I was urged to subscribe to the political process the country was pursuing. All the education that I received was filtered through this. Politics is not an artistic theme that I chose; it is not the product of a strategy. It is like an inseparable friend imposed upon me.” Rebel Deluxe Born after the coming to power of Fidel Castro (in 1959), Hernández observed the efforts of the socialist government “to keep the concept of revolution intact”. The result, he reckons, was that “revolution became ordinary” (1), a concept emptied of its meaning. But the decadence of the revolutionary idea (2) does not prevent a certain romanticism from lingering, as cynically demonstrated in a 2005 drawing in which the sun stands out against a red background. In the centre of the radiating star, the inscription “Rebel Deluxe” sounds like a laughable slogan, almost an oxymoron. Likewise, Hernández produced a film in which the word “¡ Victoria !” appearing on a billboard fades away letter by letter. Here, the Che Guevara motto to which it refers (“¡ Hasta la victoria siempre !”) is nothing more than a slogan drained of its substance. In another vein, the artist is being ironic when he writes, “The underdevelopment is a long game, do you want to play?” on a water (or gas) main surrounded by the tracks of a child’s train set. Hernández also mocks certain historical events – for example, when he leaves a message on an old radio with the words: “The missiles are in my backyard” (a reference to the 1962 missile crisis). But the critique of political reason that he makes does not concern only Cuba: Speeches is an installation comprising six turntables placed on speakers simultaneously playing the political speeches of six presidents (including Castro and Kennedy), producing a cacophony. For another work, Diango Hernández removed all the keys of a computer keyboard with the exception of those that spell out the word “democracy” (with the “€” sign visible below the letter “e”). A way of demanding the advent of a real democracy? Not really: the artist thinks that the term “democracy” is one of the political concepts that has been the most overused in the course of the last few decades to the extent that it has lost its legitimacy. For the 21st edition of the International Workshops organised by the Frac des Pays de la Loire, Hernández has produced two works. The first, entitled My Facade, comprises political propaganda posters from the 1960s splattered with gold paint. The black-and-white images come from the Cuban ministry of education, which used them in schools during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s to teach the history of communism and extol its social ideals. In the tradition of socialist realism, they depict enthusiastic youths at work or united in fraternal fervour, as well as views of harbours and photographs of electricity pylons, cranes and paddle wheels embodying Cuban industrial progress. The individual presence is systematically played down in comparison with that of the group, of the masses. Each photograph is repeated to highlight its propagandist function. Finally, the empty space in the centre of this vast wall of images gives it the appearance of an arch, of a monument. Eternal Flame My Facade refers to the 1980s, when increasing numbers of Cubans left the country for the United States. “The government and the Communist Party [the only party in Cuba] organised groups to humiliate those who left,” says Hernández. “These groups threw eggs, tomatoes and stones at the facades of the houses of the exiled to humiliate them. Every day, the stains left on the facades reminded those who saw them of this humiliation. I took an interest in this subject and particularly the fact that, at the same time that they were destroying the memory of the exiles, these people were building a monument to hate and intolerance.” In My Facade, the artist replays these gestures by changing their purpose, since it is the propaganda images that are spattered and no longer the homes of social-traitors (3). The unreal images depict “that which the government wanted us to believe in, the best and the worst of a dream”, comments Hernández. The second work presented at the Frac des Pays de la Loire is entitled Domestic Monument: The Eternal Flame. It comprises a hotplate placed in the centre of a wooden plank painted to imitate marble (as in a shrine), upon which a drop of water falls steadily and is immediately transformed into steam. The work refers to the monument to the martyrs of the revolution located at the Museo de la Revolución in Havana: a stone slab with a star in the centre of which burns an “eternal flame”. Hernández thus transforms an ...