José Antonio Hernández-Diez
sculpture in the form of an enlarged dish drainer supporting acrylic
fingernails cut to the artistís height resonates with references to the
Catholic and patriarchal culture of Venezuela, HernŠndez-Diezís native
country. The dish drainer, itself a symbol of cleanliness, echoes the
Christian rite of absolution, in which the body is washed as a metaphor
for the soul being cleansed of sin, including the sin of vanity, signified
here by the fake fingernails. HernŠndez-Diez underscores through this
work the contradictions present in a patriarchal culture that prides
itself on its beautiful women. In El Ceibů (The Sideboard), a videotaped
image installed in a generic cabinet shows the artist obsessively packing,
unpacking, and repacking in a ritualistic display of dispossession and
exile that comments on the migratory nature of our time.
Josť Antonio HernŠndez-Diez, Untitled, 1999, wood and acrylic, installation dimensions variable (installation view)
José Antonio Hernández-Diez’s work has been presented in international exhibitions, including Bienal de La Habana (1994); 1st Kwangju Biennale (1995); XXIII Bienal de São Paulo (1996); and In Site San Diego 1997, San Diego and Tijuana (1997). His work has been included in museum shows such as Cocido y Crudo, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (1994); Sin Fronteras, Museo Alejandro Otero, Caracas (1996); The Garden of Forking Paths, Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen (1998), which traveled to Edsvik konst och kultur, Stockholm, Helsinki City Art Museum, and Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum, Ålborg (1999); Amnesia, Track 16 Gallery and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, California (1998), which traveled to Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, Bogotá; and A vueltas con los Sentidos, Casa de América, Madrid (1999). Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented since 1991, including Galeria Camargo Vilaça, São Paulo (1995); Sandra Gering Gallery, New York (1995, 1996); Galería Elba Benítez, Madrid (1997); and Sala Mendoza, Caracas (1998).
Sala Mendoza, Caracas, Venezuela. José Antonio Hernández-Diez (1998). Exhibition catalogue, text by Carlota Alvarez-Basso.
Fuenmayor, Jesús. “José Antonio Hernández-Diez.” Poliester, no. 7 (fall 1997): 48-51.
Ramirez, Yasmin. “José Antonio Hernández-Diez at Sandra Gering.” Art in America 83, no. 9 (September 1995): 112-13.
Vaisman, Meyer. “Openings: José Antonio Hernández-Diez.” Artforum 31, no. 4 (April 1992): 92.