Rodrigo Hernández


 “There is always some room for changes”

AT: Where are you from and how/why you start engaging to art?

RH: I am from Mexico City. I studied in a Japanese School there and I remember how fascinated I was by the drawings they used in the textbooks, even before knowing how to read or understand Japanese. Then came the learning of the characters and ideograms that seemed like scribbles or drawings at first. That leap over words connecting images is something that is still something that keeps me excited to this day.


AT: When did it become serious?

RH: I am not sure I can distinguish a time where art wasn’t serious to me from a time where it became serious. Instead, I think there is a love and a passion for it that has only matured.


AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?

RH: Yes, very much: Silvia Bächli, my professor at the Kunstakademie Karlsruhe.


AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?

RH: My first approach is always drawing. I see it as the process of forming ideas; simple realizations that are inspired by what I read or see in the world. This unlocks a visual/verbal imagination that takes a life of its own. Most of the times, this results in installations where I combine different media, and for which I put at the center the experience and the point of view of the expectator, any given expectator.

O mundo real não alça voo (The real world does not take flight), 2018 | Installation, Pivô, Sao Paulo, Brasil (detail) | Courtesy of the artist and Galería Madragoa, Lisbon | Photo: Everton Ballardin.

AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?

RH: The moon.


AT: What are your favorite tools and materials for working?

RH: A 3H graphite pencil, a Payne’s grey Faber-Castell color pencil, a plain notebook, a pencil sharpener and an eraser. I also love oil colors and their smell, it always brings me good memories.


AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?

RH: It normally feels like my mind is in the right place. In a way, the work continues outside of the studio, but personally I feel really present when my hands are in action. Small repetitive actions I do in the studio stay with me throughout the day by repeating them unconsciously in my mind, and I like that feeling of continuity, of a thread that brings together all my days and marks the passage of time.


AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?

RH: It depends on the case. Sometimes it’s very clear because there is an initial plan to follow, but even then it is also good to let the work sit for a moment and see it with some perspective. There is always some room for changes.

Plasma, 2017 | Installation view at Galeria Madragoa, Lisbon | Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Madragoa, Lisbon | Photo: Bruno Lopes.

AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?

RH: Mostly literature, painting and conversations with friends.


AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?

RH: Yes, many. René Magritte and Giorgio De Chirico are two of the most important ones.


AT: How important is the role of social media for you?

RH: It can bring to your attention things that would otherwise not cross your way, and that is great. It’s like a fast introduction to an endless amount of things in a very crowded room. That can be fun and even interesting but it can also become a bit numbing. Personally, I like to go through my own Instagram account and see it as a personal record or a diary where I can see the things that have interested me through time.

¿Qué escucho cuando escucho el discurrir del tiempo?, 2019 | Installation, Sala de Arte Publico Siqueiros, Mexico City | Courtesy of the artist and Galería Madragoa, Lisbon: ChertLüdde Gallery, Berlin | Photo: Ramiro Chaves.

AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?

RH: I feel sociability and quick success are way too high on the scale of priorities. I want to have personal connections that extend through time.


AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?

RH: The most challenging part must be organization. Sometimes I wish I had more time for certain things and to be able to give my attention to many things at once, including personal life matters. The most rewarding part: to feel satisfied about work after investing time and effort in it.


AT: What do you do besides art?

RH: Reading, seeing friends, spending time with my family, traveling.


AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?

RH: I would like to have a bright studio with a large window facing a garden.

The Shadow of a Thank, 2018, hand-hammered brass, wood; multiple part installation | ArtBasel Statements with Galería Madragoa, Lisbon.
Rodrigo Hernández (b. 1983) is a Mexican sculptor currently living and working in México City, Mexico.

Working mostly with classical medias and techniques of art making, including drawing, sculpture and painting, Hernández is interested in the constitutive movement of art and image making, from Meso-American iconography to contemporary art. His projects vary from object-making within a devoted studio practice to site-specific and research oriented projects. He draws on a number of aesthetic references, which range classical Japanese printmaking to fashion, and European modernism, among others, to develop a very personal formal vocabulary.