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    El espíritu de los tiempos : y por qué José Antonio Hernández-Diez. / María Elena Ramos
    El espíritu de los tiempos. -- Caracas, Venezuela : Ateneo de Caracas, 1991
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Ramos, María Elena. "El espíritu de los tiempos: Y por qué José Antonio Hernández-Diez." In El espíritu de los tiempos. Exh. cat., Caracas, Venezuela: Ateneo de Caracas, 1991.

This essay by the curator María Elena Ramos was published on the occasion of El espíritu de los tiempos (Ateneo de Caracas, 1991), the retrospective exhibition (in six parts) of the work of the Venezuelan artist José Antonio Hernández-Diez. The first part refers to his early days working in film and his interest in audiovisual media; this was followed by his experiments with video and his eventual production of video-installation works. The next part covers the methodology of his work, beginning with a design on paper that he then had manufactured. The third part involves the constants in his work (movement, for example). The fourth and fifth parts deal with his portrayal of God, from both a human and a divine perspective. The final part focuses on a comparison between devotion and violence.    


The exhibition El espíritu de los tiempos (1991), which was organized by the Ateneo de Caracas to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary, is representative of the Conceptual and Neo-Conceptual art produced in Venezuela in the 1990s. The event was curated by Guillermo Barrios, who invited five well-known curators and critics to choose one or two artists each and write an essay about them and their work. In addition to the introduction by Barrios [see “El espíritu de los tiempos,” ICAA digital archive (doc. no. 1160984)] and this essay by María Elena Ramos (b. 1948), the catalogue includes essays by Zuleiva Vivas (about Claudio Perna) with “Las opciones del tiempo para el nuevo espíritu” (doc. no. 1065674); Graciela Pantin (about Susana Amundaraín and Xiomara Moreno) with “Reflexiones en torno a la contemporaneidad en las artes visuales venezolanas: “4 minutos para mirar” una obra de Susana Amundaraín y Xiomara Moreno” (doc. no. 1222405); and Ariel Jiménez (about José Gabriel Fernández) with “El espíritu de los tiempos” (doc. no. 1097294). The curator Miguel Miguel García chose Alfred Wenemoser, but declined to write an essay.


Ramos’s critical and curatorial review of the video-installation works by José Antonio Hernández-Diez (b. 1964) provides the reader-viewer with a deeper understanding of this young artist’s work as she examines his cultural and spiritual roots and holds up the visual components of his creation for closer inspection. This essay includes philosophical and theological reflections that will help the viewer gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of a new iconography in which classical Western religious symbols (the cross and the heart) and basic human problems (death, violence, and suffering) are re-expressed via electronic media and contemporary materials.  

María Elena Huizi
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Reproduced with permission of María Elena Ramos, Caracas, Venezuela
Biblioteca Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, Plaza de Los Museos, Parque los Caobos, Caracas 1010, República Bolivariana de Venezuela