Thursday June 30, 2016

Exhibition Close-Up: Diango Hernández, Theoretical Beach

The Düsseldorf-based artist re-imagines the Island in a Baroque castle museum

The Boat, a work by Diango Hernández in the exhibition Theoretical Beach

Courtesy diangohernandez.com

Last month saw the opening of Theoretical Beach, a solo show by Diango Hernández running at the Museum Morsbroich in Leverkusen, Germany through August 28.

Installation view of Theoretical Beach

Courtesy diangohernandez.com

Hernández has made his home in Germany for several years. “Since I’ve been living in Europe I’ve been reflecting on that distance that exists between the real island of Cuba and the fictional island of Cuba,” he told Blouin Artinfo in an interview last year.

A work by Diango Hernández in the exhibition Theoretical Beach

Courtesy diangohernandez.com

“By now my imagination of Cuba is certainly larger and richer that my actual memories of it,” he continued.

Diango Hernández, Hurricanes, 2016, installed in Theoretical Beach

Courtesy diangohernandez.com

“Cuba in my work is a fabrication, a ‘poetic truth.’ I wouldn’t say that any of this has anything to do with national identity in itself but rather with fictional realities.”

A work by Diango Hernández in Theoretical Beach

Courtesy diangohernandez.com

Theoretical Beach is presented on two floors of the museum, which is housed in a Baroque castle. The ground floor galleries are devoted to works that Hernández called “an articulation of rediscovered memories.”

Installation view of Theoretical Beach

Courtesy diangohernandez.com

The floor plan of his apartment in Cuba is incorporated into one sculptural installation.

Installation view of Theoretical Beach

Courtesy diangohernandez.com

The galleries of the upper floor are largely given over to wall paintings, or “Wave Texts,” which flow through several rooms of the castle. The texts are “an encryption,” Hernández says, of Fidel Castro’s 1961 speech “Words to Intellectuals,” in a pictorial font that he created.

Installation view of Theoretical Beach

Courtesy diangohernandez.com

All the characters of the font resemble a diagrammatic wave. Once the text is translated into this font, it looks like a schematic ocean painted on the walls of the gallery.

Installation view of Theoretical Beach

Courtesy diangohernandez.com

Other works in these rooms include hanging fixtures that offer tropical fruit instead of of Baroque-era candles or light bulbs.

Diango Hernández, Mars

Courtesy diangohernandez.com

“The whole undertone of the exhibition,” said Hernández in the video, “is that incapacity to read properly, to understand properly, from the understanding point of view, something.”

Diango Hernández: Theoretical Beach is curated by Stefanie Kreuzer and runs through August 28 at the Museum Morsbroich. Below, a 99-second video, in English, about the exhibition.