Javier Gatti Hernandez: Curated by INS Exhibition Catalogue
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Javier Gatti-HernandezCurated by Simon Critchley and Tom McCarthy of the International Necronautical Society (INS)
January 27 - March 12, 2011
2BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Theodore S. Berger
Thomas G. Devine
Thomas K.Y. Hsu
Brian D. Starer
Theodore S. Berger, Chair
Irving Sandler, Senior Fellow
Executive Director Jeremy Adams
Development Director Marni Corbett
Programs Director Beatrice Wolert-Weese
Programs Coordinator Ryan Thomas
Gallery Assistant Jessica Gildea
3CUE Art Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit forum
for contemporary art and cultural exchange that
provides opportunities and resources for under-
recognized artists. We value the astonishing diversity
of creativity that artists provide and the importance of
their activity in the social context of the city.
CUE provides artists, students, scholars and art
professionals resources at many stages of their careers
and creative lives. Our programs include exhibitions,
publications, professional development seminars,
educational outreach, symposia, readings and
performances. Since 2002, we have operated from
our 4,500 square foot storefront venue in the heart of
New Yorks Chelsea Arts District.
CUE exhibiting artists are chosen by their peers who
are themselves selected by a rotating advisory council
from across the country. This pluralistic process
ensures that CUE consistently offers diverse viewpoints
from multiple disciplines of artistic practice.
Simply put, we give artists their CUE to take center
stage in the challenging world of art.
Artist: Javier Gatti-Hernandez
I suffer from a common human condition: I am obsessed with love and death. At the onset of making these works, two things occurred which consumed my thoughts: 1.) A close cousin, both in age and sentiment, died suddenly of a cancer I believed she would overcome, and 2.) a new job made it so that I was estranged from my fiance for the better part of six months. Both events left me alone and conjuring answers to the question "where are they?"
The figures painted in this series remain partially obscured. They are depictions of the fading memory of two people blurred into one: an amalgam of love and death, an object of desire. While this object has been a recurring theme in my work, this new series is more specifically a meditation on obscurity: that which lies beyond what we can physically see.
This absence of my cousin and my fiance became my point of reference, like a horizon line. These paintings have a centralized composition designed to confront the viewer by placing them at the far end of a path toward the subject and what lies beyond. The horizon becomes a point where the natural world which I am able to quantify and the supernatural world begin to dissolve. As a child Id lay awake and stare at the point where two walls faded into a dark corner and Id see a man standing in that space watching and waiting for me to fall asleep. This type of childhood hallucination is what I believe to be the source of mythology.
This compulsion to qualify the unknown is what inspires my paintings. Oil paint supplies me with a crude spackle for filling in the gaps between what I know and what I imagine. Oils allow me to start with a loose, abstract concept and build up layers of images whose lines can grow and alter as a tangible idea is realized. It is the medium that provides for me the least amount of resistance in the creation of an image.
Javier Gatti-Hernandez was born in 1978 to Cuban immigrants in Miami, Florida. Growing up in this tropical sprawling suburban landscape, he stood watch as abandoned houses and other structures were consumed, over relatively little time, by avaricious plants and vines. Sparking a young imagination, Gatti-Hernandez began drawing and painting at age eight. Throughout his adolescence he avidly pursued his art, studying under Lee Willig, a local Miami painter and Cooper Union Alumnus, as a supplement to his high school AP Art curriculum. Upon graduating, Gatti-Hernandez was awarded a scholarship to attend The Cooper Union in New York, where he studied painting and began making short films.
In New York, the lush and consumptive vegetation of tropical Miami became a running theme in Gatti-Hernandezs work, seen in both his paintings and his films. In The Devil is a Cowboy (1999), oil on canvas, three cowboys carry a fourth, shirtless, man with roots growing out of his chest to the shore where a small boat awaits him. In the short experimental film, Didos Lament (2000), Gatti-Hernandez combines two Greek myths where Didos suicide becomes Daphnes escape from Apollos love by transforming into a laurel tree. In 2008s Beatrice, Gatti-Hernandezs first narrative short film, an Official Selection of the Santa Fe Film Festival, his theme of plant life and growth drive the title character toward her life changing epiphany.
In 2007, Gatti-Hernandez left New York for Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he wrote and filmed Beatrice.
Gatti-Hernandez has exhibited his work in various group and two-person shows throughout the country including Sheep in Wolfs Clothing (2001), The Media Triangle, New York, NY; Domestic Arrivals (2004), White Box Gallery, New York, NY; Faster Sleeper, Bas Fisher International (2006), Miami, FL; and Collect 8: Annual Group Show (2009-2010), Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM.
Gatti-Hernandez is currently residing in Santa Fe, NM. His exhibition at CUE Art Foundation marks his first solo show in New York City.
Fireflies began to disappear from the cities of Europe and the West in the 1950s along with the evaporation of collective ideologies of social transformation. They disappeared along with the rise of pollution and the collapse of the political and aesthetic imagination. Fireflies are tiny material markers of resistance, the suicide bombers of the insect world. In the opinion of the INS, the question of experimentation in art and politics turns on the survival of fireflies.
Jean-Francois Lyotard curated a famous exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 1985 called Les Immateriaux. Fewer people know that he was planning a second show called Rsistance, which was never realized because of his untimely death. If Lyotards show were ever to be brought into being, as a kind of posthumous exhibition, having a life after death (and someone should do it), then it would have to involve a lot of fireflies. It would be a show about something which is disappearing, or which no longer exists, or which never existed, or which flares up at the frontiers of existence before being extinguished in inexistence. Art, politics and perhaps life itself, in my humble opinion, should be orientated towards that which does not exist.
We might call this the infinite demand of art. What is infinitely demanding is the cultivation of an ethical disposition of commitment towards a possibility as yet unknown and inexistent in the situation, but still powerfully imagined: a supreme fiction, an event, a utopian moment, a firefly. Strictly and even logically speaking, this demand is nothing, that is, nothing in the situation, nothing that exists. It is like the logic of sovereignty in Bataille, which he describes with the formula, impossible, yet there it is. This is a little like our relation to death: inconceivable in the minds of the living, and yet absolutely certain. We too will pass from existence to inexistence like fireflies.
The infinite demand is a double, me-ontological (from to me on in Greek, that which is not) demand: to see what is in terms of what is not yet, and to see what is not yet in what is. Such is the implication of taking up what I see as a utopian standpoint, the standpoint of inexistence where one seeing all things hos me, as if they were not.
This means embracing a double nihilism, a bracing, affirmative nihilism, both what Walter Benjamin calls the nihilism of world politics and trying to focus attention on that which has no existence in such a world politics, indeed in such a world. Politically, the demand exerted on us by the finite context exceeds the content of any finite demand that might be accommodated at the level of government or state. Literally speaking, the infinite demand is nothing, but a massively creative nothing.
Curators: Simon Critchley and Tom McCarthy of
the International Necronautical Society (INS)
Javier Gatti-Hernandez gives us some fireflies. Something flares up in his work something evanescent, fragile and fleeting at the edges of existence, and then disappears, like the water into the dark waters of the River Styx. All the faces in these paintings turn away, half-obscured, as if looking for something else, something utterly different and distant, a sovereign moment. If you learn something from his show, then youve learnt nothing; and if you learn nothing from his show, then youve learnt something.