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    Hernández, Carmen, 1957-
    La extracción de la piedra de la locura : una instalación de Javier Téllez = The Cure of Madness. An installation by Javier Téllez / Carmen Hernández
    English; Spanish
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Hernández, Carmen. "La extracción de la piedra de la locura: una instalación de Javier Téllez =The Cure of Madness. An installation by Javier Téllez." In La extracción de la piedra de la locura, 17-39. Exh. cat., Caracas: Museo de Bellas Artes, 1996.

The curator Carmen Hernández reviews the installation La extracción de la piedra de la locura (Caracas, Museo de Bellas Artes, 1996) by the Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez. In the introduction to her review, Hernández discusses the artist’s transitions from his earliest paintings to his video-installations (underscoring the expressive values of objects). In the following chapters she uses Michel Foucault’s studies as the basis for her review of the history of madness and its various ideological connotations, from the Middle Ages until the present time. She describes the main features that define modern and postmodern art, and discusses the research (rather than demiurge) role that is commonly assigned to contemporary artists. Hernández analyzes the particular language Téllez uses, pointing out that his works encourage an innovative reading of culturally peripheral situations seen from an anthropological perspective.    


This essay by the Chilean-born Venezuelan critic Carmen Hernández takes pride of place in the catalogue for La extracción de la piedra de la locura, the installation by Javier Téllez (b. 1969), presented at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas from September through December 1996, and subsequently at the Museo Salón Arturo Michelena, Ateneo de Valencia (Venezuela), from January through March 1997.


Hernández’s essay includes a wealth of historical and theoretical information on the subject of madness; she uses Michel Foucault’s studies as the basis for her analysis of the complex installation by this Venezuelan artist that, in the author’s opinion, “does not reflect traditional values of aesthetic beauty and might even be rejected by some because of its allusions to the specific reality of alienation.”


Further to her in-depth analysis of the artist’s language and his main works, Hernández explains where Téllez stands, in terms of significance and originality, in contemporary Venezuelan art, which is one of the interesting aspects of her essay. She places him in the “objectual tradition” defined by Mario Abreu’s work, thus underscoring his interest in shining some light on certain peripheral, lesser-known aspects of Venezuelan society and culture. She does not classify Téllez as a conceptual artist, but explains that his work involves choosing a fragment of reality (not a hospital building) and installing it in a museum in order to involve viewers in an experience and then encourage them to think about it.   


The catalogue also includes an essay by the Venezuelan curator Katherine Chacón, “Javier Téllez” [doc. no. 1155070] and two articles by the artist: “Del arte con los objetos” [doc. no. 1155054] and “Un hospital dentro del museo = Of a hospital within a Museum” [doc. no. 1155003].


To read other articles about works by the artist Javier Téllez, see by Rubén Gallo “Del mausoleo al juego en cuatro imágenes” [doc. no. 1155086]; Ruth Auerbach’s interview “Trobar clus: De cómo despistar al expectador” [doc. no. 1154795]; Manuel Lebon’s interview “Mi arte es un virus que vive en las grietas” [doc. no. 1154938]; and the review by Ana María Mendoza “La pieza ‘Licantropía’ obtuvo el premio Eugenio Mendoza” [doc. no. 1154954].

María Elena Huizi
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Courtesy of Carmen Hernández, Caracas, Venezuela
Biblioteca Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, Plaza de Los Museos, Parque los Caobos, Caracas 1010, República Bolivariana de Venezuela