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

Solos

Revantgarde Solo exhibition at Paolo Maria Deanesi Gallery, Rovereto

“REVANTGARDE” by Anke Kempkes n the 1990s Diango Hernández started an extended series of drawings which processed the political and economical crisis of Cuba after the collapse of the socialist systems in Eastern Europe. ’We lost the last support of the Soviet Union, which meant confronting a big crisis. We knew about Perestroika and everyone was concerned: What was the political mistake? But the big confusion over the rising ecomomical crisis was soon predominating. And then, inevitably, the daily life was taken over by the struggle for survival. (…) At the same time I began to make this big mass of drawings out of what was my personal point of view of the crisis. I did self-portraits, illusionary architectures and cities, projects which are never going to be realized.’ Coming from a background of industrial design Diango Hernández formed the collaboration Gabinete Ordo Amoris with his friend Francis Acea. The artists collected everyday objects which were provisionally produced out the last resources people could get hold of. These objects were astonishing creations and they were the manifestation of a highly independent and individual reaction towards the broad circumstances of devastating poverty. IF THEY TAKE THE LIGHT AWAY I’ LL INVENT SOMETHING TO LIGHT MY HOUSE “These objects, pragmatic and strangely sculptural, had a special melancholic beauty, – they were products of a moment of dramatic transition’. Diango Hernández recognized their importance documenting a very particular chapter in Cuban social history. But the cheer anthropological activity of collecting seemed not to be satisfactory for his artistic sensibility and his understanding of the role an artists could take in this process. In his eyes a far more adequate tool, the activity of drawing functioned for Hernández as a political diary and positioned the artist in accordance with the new urban productivity which grew out of the daily needs. His artistic practice resonated the perception of the crisis. ‘I was acting artistically out of a collective consciousness. Havana was a backdrop, a big landscape of mistakes. (…) I did it at home late at night and of course I could not tell this to anybody. In a modest and quiet way I began to comment on circumstances, places, opinions that poeple have. (…) They were hidden in my place without exposure which was actually in a way also a living condition of each of us. You can see some flashes from outside but what is really counting is what is happening inside. And it was happening in every family in every place. My practice was a document – writing, commenting, drawing -, the most sophisticated strategy for me.’ ARTE ES REVOLUCION In his drawings Hernández transformed the objects from the street into utopian configurations. They gain a new life of their own, morphing into numerous possibilities of self-structuring. Often these biting scenarios imply a self-portrait. Depicted in deliberately naive ways which remind of Chagall or Picasso, the face of the artist is suddenly attached to the body of a horse or another creature of a kind, chimeras carrying a mission, using the disguise of the animal as a subversive strategy. Hernández regarded himself at this point as a medium of the political constellation surrounding him, while it became equally important to him to stage his individual position and emotionality right in the center of the little universe he created in his obsessive‚ automatism’ produced body of drawings. In actual fact he started to call his entire practice „drawing“, be it a complex installation, a sculpture or an accidental trace on a piece of paper. PASSION IS THE MOST SUBVERSIVE BEHAVIOR IN CAPITALISM BE SURE BEFORE BEING SURE BE LOST BEFORE BEING LOST BE IN LOVE BEFORE BEI IN LOVE ‘After a while I had thousands of drawings in my house and I decided to come to Europe. Now I had something to say about what is a circumstance. It was a big testing to present them in the European context. They were not exotic items, no phantasy, rather they belong to a specific social history.’ However politically invested these drawings are, there is always this other fantastic side to them. Hernández’ iconography subtly relates here back to the narrative inventions of Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier. In his manifesto on The Marvelous Real (Lo real maravilloso) from 1949 Carpentier rejected the ‚pointless’ imagination of the Surrealists for not being rooted enough in reality. For him the tropics with all there exoticism, eroticism and anti-colonial struggles constitute the ideal surreal imagination. MORE TROPI CALS REVOLUTIONS In his novel The Kingdom of This World Carpentier re-enacts the time of Haiti’s liberation from French colonialist rule, a period of unsurpassed brutality, horror, and superstition. The ancient slave Ti-Noel becomes the key-figure, the leader of an a new type of guerrilla, escaping his prosecution by transforming with the help of voodoo into the bodies of different animals. HOW COULD EXIST DEMOCRACY IF WE ARE SLAVES Diango Hernández’ use of romantic and fantastic motifs in his drawings is an attempt to formulate and enable a new position in contemporary art which owes a lot to the specific political and historical background he comes from. The disturbing presence of the conventional, icons of beauty and desire in his works are propositions for a future which is open to a strong imagination also in the realm of the political. ‘These works are subversive in a subtle way, because there is beauty implied in each of them. And I really like to keep it as a key for making communication possible through them. I am not interested in inventing something new, in pursuing a style or trend. I use the existing languages of art, through which something can then be read. In my opinion it does not make sense anymore to work in avantgardist categories. Particularly when it comes to architecture and urban structures artists tend to take it on as a language of the contemporary. I once choose the term ‚revantgarde’ to define my practice. Of course, it’s a risk ...

Waiting Solo booth at ArtForum Berlin with Galerie Frehrking Wiesehöfer

“A Bolero” by Diango Hernández  revolutionary is a person who either advocates or actively engages in some kind of revolution. Since the term “revolution” may be used to refer to a sudden change in any field, one may speak of political revolutionaries, social revolutionaries, revolutionary scientists, inventors, artists, etc. In a political context, the term “revolutionary” is often used in contrast to the term reformist. While a revolutionary is someone who supports quick and abrupt change, a reformist is someone who supports slow and gradual change. Political revolutionaries may be classified in two ways: According to the goals of the revolution they propose. Usually, these goals are part of a certain ideology. In theory, each ideology could generate its own brand of revolutionaries. In practice, most political revolutionaries have been either liberals, nationalists, socialists, communists or anarchists. According to the methods they propose to use. This divides revolutionaries in two broad groups: Those who advocate a violent revolution, and those who are pacifists. Perhaps the best known examples of these two types of revolutionaries are Che Guevara and Mahatma Gandhi, respectively. From Wikipedia I can’t be happy, {Adolfo Guzman}, Performed by Ignacio Villa {Bola de Nieve} I can’t be happy I can’t forget you I am feeling that I lost you And that make me think That I renounced  to you Full of passion We can’t have at the same time Conscience and heart. Today that law and reason divide us If the souls could talk In their conversation Ours would say Things of enamoured I can’t be happy I can’t forget you. ...

Democracy Solo exhibition curated by Dagmar Behr at Kunstverein Arnsberg

he speeches’ room by Diango Hernández. The concept of democracy is used to legitimize governance; calling a government undemocratic implies it shouldn’t exist. The ideas of freedom, independence and liberation have been used in the post-revolutionary Cuba as fundamental political tools when Democracy has been a very sensitive topic, a concept that Cuban government had refused even to discuss. To start a reflection about “Democracy” it is for me a mandatory task, I wonder if through an art research I could get some answers about what Democracy is. With this series of works I am exploring the concept of democracy as a cacophony (Discordant sounds in the jarring juxtaposition of harsh letters or syllables, sometimes inadvertent, but often deliberately used in poetry for effect). The show presents a multilayer group of confusing and historically suspicious objects. “Speeches” the central piece of the exhibition is an arrangement of six record players playing simultaneously different speeches from world leaders. Their sound level of every record player has been set with equal intensity. As a result we hear an irritating noise; the visitor is confused by multiple ovations and political hysteria, the small room that contains “Speeches” contaminate the whole exhibition, the sound travels through multiple rooms loading each of the other pieces with certain dirtiness. ...