In Rubén Wisotzki’s review, José Antonio Hernández-Diez (b. 1964) provides insights into the Christian symbology of his pieces and, in particular, explains that there is no attempt at irony in his work. This first-hand testimony is important since the young Hernández-Diez—experimenting in highly original ways with the possibilities of video art—is essentially embracing an aesthetic that was originally created by a group of artists in the 1970s, whose works embodied a form of conceptualism. These works relied heavily on a signature mix of irony and conflicting meaning. This young artist has a solid religious education, and is amused when people see a mocking quality in his work, which he describes as a “new Christian iconography.”
This document is of additional interest because it refers to the first exhibition presented by one of the pioneers of Venezuelan video-installation and video-sculpture, an exhibition that caught the attention of local art circles because of its unprecedented use of audiovisual media but also because of its use of religion, one of the oldest themes in art, expressed in the latest electronic or objectual media. Wisotzki’s review is one of the first written reports about this artist, who went on to be noticed by critics and collectors.
Hernández-Diez was a member of the generation that emerged in the 1980s, a group of artists who were interested in experimenting with new media as a conscious rejection of the “Expressionist” style of painting influenced by the international trans-avant-garde. The main participants were: José Gabriel Fernández (b. 1957), Sammy Cucher (b. 1958), Oscar León Jiménez (1960–90), and Alí González (b. 1962). [See also the article by Iris Peruga “José Antonio Hernández-Diez. Uso de contrarios: la violencia pasiva, como recurso estético” (2003)].