A recent solo show by Inti Hernandez, a young Cuban artist who lives in the Netherlands, focused on one of the artist’s main concerns: the reconciliation of opposites. “Bridging Reality” included a light-and-shadow piece, a room-size mirror installation, groupings of small-scale architectural models and numerous drawings.
The architectural models are intricate geometric compositions of thin hand-cut plywood and mirrors. Installed in a row at the back of the main room and lit by spotlights, Bridging the Differences (triptych), 2010, is made up of three roughly 20-inch-tall models on pedestals. One is reminiscent of an amphitheater, its tiered concentric rings recalling seating. Another offers the same structure inverted, with a small podium at the top of the conical form. In between these two is a model composed of exactly half of each of the others, cut laterally. A 3-inch figure of a man was placed in front of each structure, indicating scale and leading the viewer to consider ways inside. While neither of the flanking models allows access for the figurine, the middle model has an entrance at the bottom, perhaps suggesting that compromise provides opportunity.
Reality Dissected (2010) consists of seven large wire spherical structures, each several feet wide, that hang from the ceiling. Solid geometric wood shapes are suspended at the center of each piece. The wooden forms are lit by bulbs from the side and from above, so that they cast shadows on the wall and on the floor. The wall shadows take on varying shapes—a keyhole, a triangle, an inverted teardrop—but the floor shadows are all circular. Appearances can be deceiving.
Encounter Place IV (Installation), 2010, which was on display in a separate room at Mandos, is a sculptural installation composed of small, colorful squares painted on the floor in flower and mandala-like patterns. A V-shaped arrangement of 6-foot-high mirrors in a wooden enclosure was placed over the flooring. Recalling Dan Graham’s mirror structures, Hernandez’s “Encounter Places” (he has made various iterations as well as models) aim to create a space for social engagement. At the 2010 edition of Art Amsterdam, for example, people sat inside Encounter Place (2006) conversing. The apparent lightheartedness of these environments does in fact seem to break down barriers, encourage interaction and put smiles on viewers’ faces.
Photo: View of Inti Hernandez’s Reality Dissected, 2010, metal, wood, lightbulbs and mixed mediums; at Ron Mandos.