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Original title: La Hermandad
Video installation: pigskin skateboards, wooden tables, aluminium bars, TV monitors and videos transferred to DVD (colour, sound)
Dimensions: 60' Variable dimensions
Since the mid eighties, the art scene in Venezuela has undergone a series of decisive changes that have brought a number of the artists to the notice of the world. Meyer Vaisman, Sammy Cucher or José Antonio Hernández-Díez are good examples of that breakthrough. Since the early nineties, Hernández-Díez's installations have had certain common features that can be summed up in a combination of sculptural structures -which refer to furniture, starting from Minimalist forms- and television monitors showing images related to reworkings of popular and/or visual culture or with the reality of the country. In that way the pieces of furniture he makes serve as supports where the images can be placed and also point out the impossibility of separating the two media: the context is what gives the work meaning, and it cannot be broken down into parts. Although in a visual culture what is being shown on a television catches the spectator's eye, in Hernández-Díez's installations it invites us to immerse ourselves in a hermetic fiction through hyperreality. Thus, in In God We Trust I (1991) the images of the looting in Caracas in 1989 are framed in a traditional power structure (the pyramid and the all-seeing eye), and in San Guinefort (1991) he turns to a popular Mediaeval story, although the installation is highly technological in appearance. Here we find one of the threads that have joined the artist's work throughout the nineties: the overlapping of the popular and local with the technological and international. In a way, it might be said that from the confrontation of those dualities emerges a work that is forged in the conflict, a feature that could be the common denominator of the best Latin American art of the nineties. La hermandad, presented at the exhibition "Cocido y crudo" (1994), contains many of those elements. On the one hand, it still uses furniture as a support for the television monitors, and on the other it points to the conflict that springs from the mix of cultures, indicated in this case by the manufacture of skateboards with fried pork skin (the Venezuelan pork scratchings). Iconographically the pork skin had already been used in Los tres X (1993) and, in its turn, the dog, though in a different way, in San Guinefort. Likewise the social and cultural clash is present here as in the earlier works. Moreover, the artist is putting forward two planes: first, the one with the making of the skateboards (seen on the screens) and second, the one where they are displayed on a bar, which allows the fat to drip. This is undoubtedly a disturbing work in which violence is present as the fruit of the conflict. The image on the third monitor, which shows dogs devouring the skateboards, could be a summary of the brutality implicit in any society.