Both the individual works as well as the entire exhibition which Rodrigo Hernández displays for Kunsthalle Winterthur are typically characterized by something exemplary and general. Man kind occupies a special place in Hernández’s artistic exploration. Within the entire oeuvre, man-kind appears only sparingly, but has a central effect on everything around it: whether as an indication of the presence of a thinking and feeling being, or as a reference for measure and proportion.

In the Oberlichtsaal of the Kunsthalle Winterthur man kind is also the centre of attention, as the hand-driven wall relief Who Loves You (2019) shows a dancing couple just larger than life-sized. In dance, the archaic and self-expressive gesture of an individual has always manifested itself, regardless of whether it is in the service of an intoxicating self-expression or partner advertising; at the same time, couple dance in particular is based on a complicated set of rules that can only be transformed into a joint, graceful performance through intensive training. The couple embracing each other in dance is a symbol of love, but also a cipher for the fusion of archaism and sophistication as well as visible proof of the presence of rational and emotional competence.

In contrast to the dimly lit skylight hall, the friendly bright yellow sidelight hall features a small-scale model of a spaceship. Inevitably, the dancing couple and the spaceship are put in relation to each other: do the two enjoy the last evening in their old world before setting off for a new one the next morning? Or is it just the other way round and they are already looking forward to a successful arrival in the new world? And why do they have to leave their old world at all?

Original text in German by Oliver Kielmayer.

 

Installation views of “WHO LOVES YOU”. All photos by Christian Schwager.
Who, 2019, cardboard, papier-mâché and oil color, two elements: 93 x 40 x 27cm and 110 x 70 x 250cm.
Who loves you, 2019, hand hammered brass, 70 × 95 × 1.8 cm (each panel), 210 × 95 × 1.8 cm (overall).