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Diango Hernandez: The Humid Image at Nicolas Krupp, Basel
Diango Hernández, Exhibition view Nicolas Krupp, Basel , 2011. Photo © Serge Hasenböhler. Courtesy:

BASEL.- A massive amount of water particles went back, invisibly and slowly, to where it came from - to the sky. Only rests of colors, dissolved paper and fragments of plaster and terracotta remained on the floor. The shelves and some tables were still in good shape, but most of the sculptures were broken or just vanished, because of the heavy rain. The roof was partially gone; its large wood bars fell down and crashed every single fragile object in the room, the whole studio looked like a destroyed temple of ceremonies after an earthquake.

Years after the studio of Florencio Gelabert ‘dispersed’ in the earth of Havana City, someone offered me a drawing, which I immediately recognized as an original Gelabert. The drawing was a gentle charcoal study of a boy’s head. The head was smartly positioned in the corner of the paper and the boy with his careless expression seemed to look into the centre of the sheet. What really called my attention in this particular drawing was its actual state; in the center of the paper there was a big water stain, which appeared to me to be as important as the drawing itself. While looking at it, the water stain drew a monster’s head, which mutated at least into three different abominable figures. I couldn’t tell if the water stain was under or above the boy’s head. The water went all the way through the charcoal, deep inside the paper fibers. It was hard to tell, what was there first on that piece of paper: the drawing or the stain. By now both stories shares the same area of the paper, which in no way whatsoever makes them equal.

I believe this drawing was floating somewhere on the water for a couple of days, until someone just took it and put it directly inside a folder. Immediately I started thinking of the catastrophe that many years ago happened to F. Gelabert’s studio. Definitely this was one of the drawings, which someone ‘rescued’ from his devastated studio. I didn’t hesitate and I bought the drawing right away. For years I’ve called this drawing The boy and the stain and I still keep it in the same place, where I have a collection of intriguing things, because The Boy and the stain mainly contains a series of invisible ‘accidents’ that fascinate me.

The exhibition Crystal Clear unfolds stories of dissolved images, destroyed artists’ studios and some other types of evaporation. What seems to be a water stain now appears in front of us as a drawing itself; multiple printed images of Villeroy and Boch glasses from a 1936 catalog have been ‘filled’ with seductive translucent watercolors, which invite us to ‘drink’ again from the same imaginary glass.

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November 24, 2011

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Very rare Fabergé work in Avant-Garde style acquired by museum for 800,000 euros

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Diango Hernandez: The Humid Image at Nicolas Krupp, Basel

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