El año del murciélago: Jorge Hernández
Aurora Vigil-Escalera Art Gallery presents, from April 30th to June 8th, The Year of the Bat, the first solo exhibition by Jorge Hernández in our gallery.
Debates about art tend to be presented under a fairly simple standpoint: creation, in line with the radical transformation of society, has to leave behind its traditional media and move towards a permanently innovative attitude. An argument that, of course, Jorge Hernández does not share. For him, even from a post-cinema language, painting continues to be an ideal medium to pose conflicts and crossroads, which are then resolved through the variability of expressive resources and compositions, and a constant chromatic exploration.
His struggles are located in the traditional frame-support, where he interrogates ways of looking at and constructing reality that delve into the fiction of possible worlds. To do this, he uses the filmic strategies of the fifties and sixties, specifically those of that Hollywood mediated by the repercussions of the Cold War, but which also established new narrative paradigms that transformed the history of cinema. Its objective also points towards film noir and neighboring genres, where the enigma always structures the narrative.
But his critical gaze on what is represented does not seek an umpteenth analysis of cinema as a device of some kind of power. The artist translates filmic aesthetics into pictorial density from a very specific place: the pleasure generated by dismantling its visual and narrative mechanisms. Or, to put it another way, his work is born from the enjoyment of knowing how what he likes is made, and for what reasons he likes it. This analysis does not dwell on sociological reflections (even if it refers them) or ideological disassemblies (despite being impregnated by them), but instead attends to the concept of taste, the first significant impulse of what, already in the 18th century, was defined as a new philosophical branch: Aesthetics.
In his latest works, which emerged during the current health crisis, ideas emerge that the artist associates with the experience of lockdown. They are not obvious, but there they are: the severe crisis of collective freedoms, the impossibility of displacement, psychological instability or fear of the unknown. In fact, the title that the artist has given to this exhibition is The Year of the Bat, as there is a narrative (which, if not true, it remains a fascinating occurrence) that suspects this animal as the origin of COVID19. The bat, which is part of a long chapter in the metamorphosis of the devil, acquires a terrifying significance in our pandemic context. We can evoke him as an ugly hot-blooded drinker who lives in the distant markets of Wuhan, and who takes us back to the sinister figure of the Vampire: a monster whose evil is not spread by the bite, but by the saliva, and that needs to be produced himself at the expense of the living; a being difficult to discern, but whose trace is frighteningly tangible.
Jorge Hernández always starts his paintings via the landscape, in whose pictorial construction we locate the picturesque (that which makes the sensitive something in itself and by itself interesting), but, above all, that greatness, generally embodied in the mountains, which is an absolute condition of the Sublime. In the second part of the process, the characters settle in and put into action their dramatic appearance, their movements and expressions. If we look closely at the women, we see that they are the same ones that Cindy Sherman recreated in her Films Stills, a forceful criticism of the archetypes and great poses of the female cliché in American cinema of the fifties. These and other cinematographic codes are also the subject of Jorge Hernández, but his reading goes in another direction: from them, he is interested in discovering his aesthetic armor, that is, that fascinating beauty from which our gaze cannot escape.
Jorge Hernández usually introduces something into his paintings that interferes with logic, a strange vanishing point that dismantles any pretense of truthfulness: impossible space-time combinations, inexplicable actions or useless artifacts, among other resources. We can discover here that aspect of humor that Freud defined as the pleasure of absurdity, and that our painter takes up with a double function: on the one hand, from its own operation as an aesthetic tool; on the other, as a symbol of the difficulties involved in living in a present that has not yet managed to articulate a viable project for the future.