Out-of-place artifacts Solo exhibition at Galerie Michael Wiesehöfer / Galerie Barbara Thumm with text by Nuno Faria 2008

Galerie Barbara Thumm is pleased to present its first solo show “out-of-place artifacts (OOPArt)” on Diango Hernández. The exhibition is taking place in cooperation with the Galerie Michael Wiesehöfer in Cologne, which will be opening its third solo exhibition on the Cuban artist concurrently with the Berlin show. On the occasion of these exhibitions, an artist’s book will be published with collages by Hernández and a text (Guerrilla Warfare) by Ernesto (Che) Guevara. Diango Hernández’s solo shows at Galerie Barbara Thumm and Galerie Michael Wiesehöfer not only share the same title – “out-of-place artifacts (OOPArt)” – but are also inextricably interlinked, in the way that they constitute a continuous, both conceptually and material lycontinuous space. Both shows offer a complete impression and understanding of Diango Hernández’s project complexity. Forming a social revolution projection, together they are a powerful and metaphorical reflection on both, social and artistic contexts.

The central piece at Galerie Barbara Thumm is “Shooting the Light”, an installation belonging to a series of three works dedicated to the theme of light. The two other works, “The Bay of Pigs” and “And the light had disappeared”, were shown at the group exhibition “Articulations” in Faro, Portugal this summer. Diango Hernández is above all primarily interested in scrutinising the relationship between light and the history of power, two aspects which are quite often intimately linked. Thus the works refer metaphorically to the memory of concrete events: in “The Bay of Pigs“, the figure on the wall, traversed by several editions of the “Life Magazine“, functions as a tenuous physical and mental frontier between two realities, two sides of the same coin. “Might the light be an ephemeral error of darkness?”, asks Diango Hernández. In “And the light had disappeared” – an immense drawing in which the white of the paper represents the light and the black of the pencil the darkness – Hernández refers to the founding and clarifying gesture of the artist, who is a privileged witness to darkness and obscurity. In “Shooting the Light”, the third – and arguably the most powerful – piece in this light trilogy, the spectator participates actively in the construction or, perhaps more appropriately, the “destruction” of the installation. Once again working with the subject theme of boundaries, Diango Hernández invites whoever enters the gallery space to “switch off” light bulbs by throwing stones. The most direct and enigmatic consequence of this act is to conceal the collages hanging on the wall. And the light had disappeared…

The key word to access Diango Hernández’s artistic thought is “drawing”. In the work “We are unfinished drawings”, presented at the São Paulo Biennial, Hernández uses the subject theme of the drawing as a space of frustration and of utopia that never truly fulfills his high expectations. Indeed, drawing – as a metaphor for the most inner individual expression – has been a particularly productive field of reflection and expression for the artist, in a “dialogue of the deaf” that he conducts with memory and the effects of the failed collective utopia that was the Communist revolution in Cuba. The two exhibitions share a series of collages of catalogue pages from illustrations of historic and valuable eighteenth-century European porcelain, depicting the aristocratic life and the exotic fantasies of the aristocracy of that time. “I have intervened in these pages in a very fundamental way: I have used pieces of cut-outs from porno magazines pages and I have glued them on top of the porcelain objects as a means of mocking them, adhering to one of the most important principles of a social revolution – to deconstruct the idea of the bourgeoisie, using for this purpose any kind of dirty strategy”.

At Galerie Michael Wiesehöfer, Diango Hernández presents the installation “The Only Book“ a stylized iron bookshelf, holding a single but highly symbolical book, the first edition of Ernesto (Che) Guevara’s famous treaty “La guerra de Guerrillas” (1960), as well as the comprehensive space installation “Cabin of Cutted Desires”, composed of a table converted in a ceiling lamp, 15 collages and a velvet curtain, which closures the room to obstruct the daylight.

It is curious to note how drawing has been understood and used as a tool for thinking and as well as for inventing new forms of living and of conceiving reality in determined specific contexts. To draw is to project, to project ourselves imaginarily and materially into a given place, or feeling, or language, whatever… ; that will to experience the future is clearly linked to the secret and intimate exercise of drawing. In Hernández’s work, everything is to be understood as projection, as a desire for transformation, social transformation.

Catalogue: Texts by: Ernesto Che Guevara (La guerra de guerrillas), 15 x 8 cm, soft cover, 68 pages, full color, Produced by: Galerie Michael Wiesehöfer Cologne & Galerie Barbara Thumm Berlin