Gonzalo Hernandez – “Los demás”

June 19th, 2024

Reception: June 19th, 2024

_VIGILGONZALES Buenos Aires - Presidente Porque Saenz Peña 628 - P4. Buenos Aires

The concept of "the others" alludes to the idea of the rest, of what remains, of that which is not in connection with what is installed. Its subtle and abstract segmentation implies the positioning of social groups in divergent ways.

One of the guiding questions in Gonzalo Hernandez's research is who we can identify as "the rest" in the field of art: if every individual agent of the common landscape is framed in a circumstance, the exhibition evidences the intangible demarcations that in the field of art operate by arranging us in a certain location of a social mandala. What determines the always sustained inexact but sharp demarcation of a certain group cornered in the category of "the rest"? In that sense, Hernandez is interested in tracing how some contemporary artists have dialogued with their own circumstances, described both by their own biographical experience and by the economic and geopolitical privileges they have enjoyed.


Los demás invites us to ask ourselves about the reference system from which we orient ourselves, as well as to trace the features of the behavior we sustain, framed in a certain specific way of locating ourselves in this common landscape. The center-periphery dialectic brings us together and separates us, contracts and expands to the rhythm of a social algorithm that we can intuitively distrust.


In any case, the same algorithm that separates us can bring us closer. This was the case of Hernández's encounter with the fragment of an interview with Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta, in which the interviewee talks about how talent is not the only thing necessary to be able to develop professionally, but that it is necessary to have qualities such as resilience and tenacity. In a soccer metaphor that resonated with Hernández, Tenoch points out that sometimes the technical director gives a brief opportunity to "the others", during which time each person tries to show what he or she is capable of.


Los demás is then also a tribute to the possibility we have to help others to shape their opportunities. It is here that the teaching practice that Hernández sustains in her daily life emerges, where she witnesses how a dedicated education can sustain, guide and support young people with the desire to realize themselves professionally as artists, in a simultaneous impact of social inclusion.


In his case, the production of his work enters into a continuous dialogue with his teaching practice. This abyss -where not only the artist produces work but also instructs young aspiring artists and serves as an example for them- Hernández's production is related to the actions of an editor, that is, the one in charge of selecting and highlighting certain milestones in the history of contemporary art. The term "contemporary history" evidences the ambivalence and overlapping of past and present, where Hernández plays the role of producer-instructor.


When studying the history of contemporary art to teach it as a professor, he encounters questions about the reasons for prestige, success and failure, sometimes with the lens focused on the specific case of Latin American artists who migrated to "central" spaces from where it is feasible to sustain an economy based on the production of work.


From his experience in the use of fabric, Hernández investigates the interweaving of the textual plane and the textile support, where the aesthetic protection of the jacquard fabric enhances the verbal message transmitted that seeks the very status of "work". Los demás establishes a special contact with the work of a conceptual artist belonging to the arte povera movement: Alighiero Boetti (1940). Hernandez is inspired by Boetti's visual proposal of hiding secret texts in his works, which are elucidated before an attentive gaze. Hernández follows the stylistic line proposed by Boetti and makes his personal interpretation of the textual embroidery, with words that allude to the roles that can be occupied in the art world. Also on display is an original version of a photograph of a sculptural self-portrait by Boetti, in which the Italian artist vents his ideas, in a conceptual sense, to unveil the epiphanic dimension of the doodle, that is, when the gesture becomes text.


In this way, references appear in Hernández's work that stem from his research as a professor: this is the case of the German painter Josef Albers (1888), whose theory of color the artist transmits in class and whose pictorial series in this exhibition is cited. Focusing on the relationships between different shades of the formal parameter of color, Hernandez uses them as a basis to cite all those artists of contemporary art that he suggests as personal references and markers. The artists alluded to tend to present features of conceptual art, among them Joseph Beuys, Bruce Nauman, On Kawara, Hammons, Kosuth, Barbara Kruger, Natalia Iguiñiz, Félix Gonzales Torres and some references to Peruvian Creole music, describing a wide gradient of belonging or not to the canon of contemporary art.



Los demás highlights the existence of this group of blurred belonging and makes explicit how our daily life and cultural references permeate the conceptual elaboration of the body of work. Committed to his own journey as a contemporary artist, Hernández takes as part of this commitment a meticulous study of his aesthetic reasons and his own artistic reference system, which he makes manifest in this exhibition.


Installation Views


Gonzalo Hernández