José Antonio Hernández-Díez. This must be stopped: SOLO SHOW

29 September - 15 November 2017

Federico Luger (FL GALLERY) - WIZARD is pleased to present José Antonio Hernández-Diez’s first Italian solo exhibition. A Venezuelan conceptual artist who began to stand out in the 80’s, Hernández-Diez (Caracas, 1964) has taken part of numerous exhibitions of relevance: a solo show at the New Museum in New York, curated by Dan Cameron and Gerardo Mosquera, and at SITE Santa Fe; and his participation of the Venice Biennale in 2003, among the most outstanding. The artist uses materials found on the streets, such as skateboards, bicycles, turntables and other audio equipment, in order to develop a personal iconography focused on familiar, sometimes domestic objects. The common becomes extraordinary through provocation, the use of black humor and the variation of the scale operated by Hernandez-Diez.
The artist manipulates the objects, often reconfiguring them physically in such a way as to distort the everyday by inserting a philosophical and emotional resonance. Elements of his Venezuelan childhood are combined with others that refer to global pop culture. The title of the exhibition, “Bisogna fermare questo”, comes at a critical moment in the history of Venezuela. The series works by Hernández-Diez, which have never been exhibited before, take as a starting point a series of photographs of a renowned brake factory based in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, which in the nineties represented a benchmark of excellence for the accurate quality control of its products. This factory, after being established by the government of Rafael Caldera (Socialist President who granted the pardon to Hugo Chavez), modified its way of operating, progressively losing the ability to maintain the high quality control for which it was famous. Hernández-Diez interprets this event as a premonition of what would successively be the future policy of nationalization of Venezuelan industry implemented by Hugo Chávez.
The exhibition presents a series of sculptures made with used brake pads on which were incised a wide range of images belonging to the iconography of the contemporary history of Venezuela: manifestations, students, objects, shields, police, firearms, criminals, the Constitution, characters on motorcycles, bodles of rum and beer, politicians. José Hernández-Diez presents a metaphor, an idea that allows us to reflect on the crisis that Venezuela is experiencing: the idea of losing the brake, of not being able to stop, of losing control transports us to the Venezuela of today, a country that is out of control, living in an anarchic state, precisely, without brake…