What is it that has etched itself into you?


Galeria Madragoa, Lisbon, PT
Similarly to brushstrokes thickened in the air, Rodrigo Hernández spindly sculptures unfold in the gallery space and superimpose one to another: A suspended arabesque hedge that harnesses the gaze, making it slip on its volutes, whirl in the eye of this doodle freezed in the atmosphere. The gaze is rocked back and forth and up and down, driven by the force-lines of this plant labyrinth modeled by the wind which, as it blows through its cloisonné branches, seems to whisper the words that this loose asemic writing traced in the air cannot circumscribe. On the other hand is a treasury of words denoting images, elements, actions, particles that the installation evokes but cannot describe.

Leaves, wind, smoke, vibrations, waves, lines, strips, face wrinkles, flames, shadows, paths, cuts, heat, threads, ribbons, sound, warmth, profiles, clouds, fragments, cables, plugs, roads, hair, eyelashes, brows, nails, marks, veins, light, thunders, tails, arms, strokes, bumps, links, smiles, roots, plants, curves, swirls, shifts, waning crescent moon, waxing crescent moon, fruit peels, c’s, u’s, r’s, ideograms, ink, chips, intestines, wink, s, fish, algae, shoelaces, rays, grass, milk spill, side view of something, cat whiskers, ass crack, ankles, curls, shoulders, ass, nose, mountains, bald heads or animals emerging from water, baby inside a belly, stains, 9’s, 8’s, 6’s§, muscles, muscle tissue, streets, crosses, X’s, T’s, holes for arms in shirts, folds, galaxies, star powder paths, spoon, stomach, cedilla, accents, commas, tongues, throats, rails, G’s, broken things, tiger lines, dresses, ties, hair clips, pendants, jewels – which can take any shape always –, bridges, eyelids, returns, inspiration, expiration, intersections, stitches , branches, vapor, fangs, jumps, signals, metro lines, train lines, tubes, flutes, arms, ropes, zippers, handles, wings, gas, graphs, birds, subjects, planes, blades, breath, worms, flowers.

All images that can be glimpsed in the floating installation before they suddenly dissolve in the network of winding lines, to take the shape of something else when seen from a different angle.

Neither writing nor images, although evoking both, the sculptures slide between the two dimensions, they cristalize in a choreography of spatial lines that expresses a form of knowledge immersed in the sensory flux of experience. The resulting ideogram draws the subject’s encounter with the world, an interpenetration between the two, assimilating the human subject to an element of nature – a plant, a fish – that lives in a mimesis with the surrounding world.

As the installation is open and fluid, so the list of words is potentially endless, suggesting that any viewer could add their own vision and that all visions are, more than anything else, a projection of themselves.

“In the window before me I can vaguely see the image of my face. Apart from my eyes, which are shining, and the part directly beneath, which dimly reflects light, the whole of the left side lies in shade. Two deep furrows run down the forehead, one deep furrow runs down each cheek, all filled as it were with darkness, and when the eyes are staring and serious, and the mouth turned down at the corners it is impossible not to think of this face as somber. What is it that has etched itself into you?” (Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle: Book 2).