Video, installation, graphic and fashion design, architecture, art history and music all play a part in Raúl Cordero’s ambitious painting. The Cuban-born artist, who was a preconscious pioneer of video art in Cuba during the 1990s, has marked his return to painting by exploring a highly deconstructive approach to this medium, one where this esteemed tradition is addressed by appropriation of the genre’s historical codes, masters, and styles, and mixed with quotes and associations from contemporary art and popular culture.
For this exhibition, Cordero presents a series of 9 related oil on canvas paintings that together go under the title Hendrickje. Rembrandt van Rijn’s iconic painting of his devoted lover and common-law wife, entitled A Woman bathing in a Stream (Hendrickje Stoffels?) (1654), is taken as the structural framework for the entire series, which together forms a single painting, documented by a photograph that is also part of the work. Each canvas is a section of Hendrickje’s likeness that is layered with fragmented images taken from film, high fashion, photography, avant garde art, and the artist’s own imaginings, among other sources. Cordero subverts his own presence as a painter, letting instead the fast-paced sensitivity of video editing thread loose narratives that mash-up visual history.
Raúl Cordero: Hendrickje is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and is sponsored by MCASD’s International Collectors. Related programs are supported by grants from The James Irvine Foundation Arts Innovation Fund, the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Institutional support for MCASD is provided, in part, by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
Raúl Cordero: Hendrickje is curated by MCASD Associate Curator Lucía Sanromán and coordinated by Fabiola Ortiz.
Raúl Cordero represents through his work the “other Cuban art”. Far from the standards of Revolution art, and without falling into topics of other artists from in and out of the island, Cordero “samples” pretexts whimsically obtained from various referential origins (press, magazines, books, TV, photography and video) and shows us his work as a result of recycling, of a revival, creating a new reality that refers more to Art than to any other apparent content.
The texts of Bruce Ferguson, Barry Schwabsky and Kevin Power and the interview with Omar-Pascual Castillo go deep into the universe of this artist, who with false frivolousness and irony, subverts, provokes and questions the proper essence of what he produces at every instant.
Artists: Tomma Abts, Ross Bleckner, Alighiero e Boetti, Michaël Borremans, Gillian Carnegie, Raúl Cordero, John Currin, Alexander Esters, Bernard Frize, Franz Gertsch, Andrew Grassie, On Kawara, Konrad Klapheck, Jochen Kuhn, Sebastian Ludwig, Michel Majerus, Fabian Marcaccio, Rodney McMillian, Jonathan Monk, Reinhard Mucha, Manuel Ocampo, Roman Opalka, Laura Owens, Magnus Plessen, Ad Reinhardt, Bernd Ribbeck, Adrian Schiess, Pablo Siquier, Andreas Slominski, Cheyney Thompson, Corinne Wasmuht, Ekrem Yalçinda
Curated By: Fritz Emslander, Markus Heinzelmann, Stefanie Kreuzer
November 24, 2009 – February 7, 2010
On October 10th, 2009, Raúl Cordero began to make nine different paintings, all the same size. Among them, the paintings reference various classical genres in the history of painting: portrait, landscape, still life, abstraction. Each painting was meant to stand alone. However, assorted elements of a painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, Hendrickje Stoffels, badend in een rivier (1654) are mixed into the composition of all. On October 29th, Cordero placed the nine paintings together as a grid to take an aerial photo, trying to recover the figure of Hendrickje Stoffels in Rembrandt’s scene from the elements present in his paintings.