Socialist Nature

Versuchsanordnungen historischer Erkenntnismöglichkeit

In the mind of the Cuban-German artist Diango Hernández (b. Sancti Spíritus, Cuba, 1970; lives and works in Düsseldorf), the bipolar global order of the Cold War is not yet a thing of the past. The defining conflict of the era that ended in 1989 continues to inspire Hernández’s work. “Socialist Nature” is the title the artist has chosen for his “homage to Eugene von Gundlach.” Who is this renowned but fictional photographer who traveled the countries of the former Eastern Bloc trying to prove that the power of the socialist utopia affected and transformed not just their people but also their flora and fauna? Hernández’s work charts a treacherous path balancing the fine and increasingly blurry line between utopia and reality. He resorts to the devices of meticulous documentation to create a deceptive semblance of authenticity, challenging us to think critically and sending us on a voyage of discovery. The book illustrates a more recent phase in Diango Hernández’s oeuvre in which the motifs and themes appear to be more playful and easily accessible. Upon closer inspection, however, it is clear that his art is still animated by his urge to keep writing his subjective and critical counter-narrative against the master narrative of the Cuban revolution. With essays by Timotheus Vermeulen and Gerhard Obermüller and a text by the artist.
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