Cover Story, March 2016: José Antonio Hernández-Díez: The sacred heart of the matter

March 2016 cover story. This and previous stories are archived here.

The March 2016 cover story marks the twelve of the series. This section published monthly on our home page, focuses on an artwork or moment related to our past, current or future practice – "close ups" of what we do, see and are thinking about. (When the next Cover Story is published, the March one will be archived here.)

'José Antonio Hernández-Díez. I will fear no evil' opens at MACBA’s Convent dels Àngels on 18 March 2016 (and runs until 26 June). Guest curated by Latitudes, the exhibition focuses on the Barcelona-based Venezuelan artist’s first experimental works from the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

The presence of ghosts and bodily organs in this phase of José Antonio’s out-of-joint art – videographic spectres, disembodied voices, preserved creatures, hearts and skin – is only enhanced by the somewhat necromantic aspect of the fact that several of his works are being reconstructed. Dealing with the symbology and spiritual practices of Catholicism, 'Sagrado Corazón Activo' (Active Sacred Heart, 1991) is one of the pieces which will be brought back to life. In a workshop in Barcelona’s Gràcia, sculptor Fernando Romeo is making its heart. Continue reading...


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Curators: 'I Will Fear No Evil', José Antonio Hernández-Díez, Convent dels Àngels del Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), 18 March–26 June 2016

José Antonio Hernández-Díez, "La Hermandad", 1994. Video installation. ”la Caixa” / MACBA Collection.

Latitudes is curating the solo exhibition 'I will fear no evil' of Venezuelan-born Barcelona-based artist José Antonio Hernández-Díez (Caracas, 1964), which will open at the Convent dels Àngels del Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), on March 17.
 
'I will fear no evil' presents works from the beginning of Hernández-Díez’s career in the late 1980s and early nineties – several of which have not been seen since they were first exhibited – in dialogue with Filamentos (2016), a new series developed especially for the occasion.

José Antonio Hernández-Díez, "La Hermandad", 1994. Video installation. ”la Caixa” / MACBA Collection.

The present exhibition looks back to Hernández-Díez’s first experimental works with video alongside early iconic screen- and vitrine-based works, including three of those presented at the time of his landmark first monographic exhibition 'San Guinefort y otras devociones', held in 1991 at Sala RG in Caracas. This exhibition heralded what the artist termed as a ‘New Christian Iconography’, offering – as artist-colleague Meyer Vaisman described – ‘a techno-pop view of Catholicism’s most beloved symbols’. 

An newly text by Latitudes will be published in Spanish as No. 32 of the Quaderns portàtils (Portable Notebooks) series. This MACBA-produced collection is freely distributed and downloadable from the museum website in PDF and ePUB format. An English translation will also be available as a separate PDF.

Exhibition runs between 18 March–26 June 2016 and is organised and produced by the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA).




Documentation of Latitudes' talks at the Athens Biennale summit and Tabakalera, Donostia-San Sebastián, November 2015


Latitudes in the international Summit 'Synapse 1' at New Rex of the National Theatre of Greece. 'Session II: Rethinking Institutions', November 18, 2015. Photo: Athens Biennale.

Documentation of two recent presentations by Latitudes in Athens and Donostia–San Sebastián is now online. 

Entitled Omonoia (‘concord’ in Greek), the Athens Biennale 2015–17 is directed by Massimiliano Mollona and will grow over the next two years with the help of anthropologists, researchers, activists, academics, artists and civic organisations. In November 2016, Omonoia launched with the summit Synapse 1: Introducing a laboratory for production post-2011. Latitudes participated in the “Rethinking Institutions” session alongside Maria Hlavajova (founder and artistic director of BAK, Utrecht); political economist Leo Panitch; Emily Pethick, director of The Showroom, London; Documenta 14 Artistic Director Adam Szymczyk; public services expert Hilary Wainwright, and Amalia Zepou, Athens Vice Mayor for Civil Society and Municipality Decentralization. 

By way of introduced we discussed the “Near-Future Artworlds Curatorial Disruption Foresight Group”, the forum for megatrends and the future of institutions of contemporary art that has taken place in May 2015 at the Vessel / MADA (Monash Art Design and Architecture) 2015 International Curatorial Retreat in Bari, Italy; in August at Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, and in November at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK. We followed this with some geological speculation that in “digging deeper” both literally and figuratively, we perhaps find new institutional models. How do we think about artworks and institutions in terms of tens of thousands of years, for example.

See the video here (in English).


Public lecture organised by consonni as part of LaPublika. Tabakalera, Donostia–San Sebastián. Wednesday, November 11, 2015. Photo: Consonni.

Also in November, Latitudes led the workshop “Beyond The Roundabout, or How Public Is Public Art?” for consonni/LaPublika at Tabakalera. As part of this Latitudes gave a public lecture. The workshop addressed the work of artists who conceptualize or actualize their works against a backdrop of vast stretches of time or topological change. In the public lecture we made various transects through our curatorial projects determined by the public sphere, raw materials and their transformation. “From the zinc which led to an Esperanto micro-nation, to the air of a Beijing shopping centre, or the dead trees of printed news, Latitudes will join some traits and ideas around ‘human resources’, extractive modernity, obsolescence and the carbon cycle.” 

Hear the audio here (in Spanish). 

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