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Jose Hernandez and the hidden truth

A collection of Jose Hernandez's etchings can be found in the sacristy at San Lorenzo de Ubeda.

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Jose Hernandez and the hidden truth

A collection of Jose Hernandez's etchings can be found in the sacristy at San Lorenzo de Ubeda. Many of the prints are illustrations of literary works. There are also posters that show his connection to the theater. The exhibition includes twenty prints and eleven posters. It was loaned from Casa de la Cultura, Villanueva del Rosario, Malaga, where there is a Jose Hernandez area, to the Fundacion Huerta de San Antonio responsible for San Lorenzo's rehabilitation.

It is not difficult to see the connection between Jose Hernandez, a plastic artist (Tangier 1944; Malaga 2013), and Malaga. He established his workshop and residence there in 1980. The Secondary School is named after him. Since 2006, he is listed as one his favorite sons. Villanueva Del Rosario, an internationally recognized artist, donated the collection of Ubeda etchings, along with books, letters, and other tools of trade such as the intaglio or printing press Hernandez used for his metal engravings.

Twenty engravings are displayed under the title "Jose Hernandez." The artist's personality is evident in the other side of reality. He was widely regarded as the greatest etching artist of 20th-century. It is a disturbing universe full of deformed characters in the process decomposition. Hernandez sought to expose the other side to reality. They are the chaos and randomness of life. They are inner realities that "have their uncertainties, metamorphoses and chrysalises", that seek to be identified. They make their way up to the skin's level, as Juan Malpartida explains. He adds that they are worlds "surprised in their transit to another worlds, in search for their place."

Jose Maria Aguilar is an art historian. Contrary to what you might think, Jose Hernandez's works are not dreamlike. They are not born out of a dream, but from a nightmare. They are rather born "from reflection, an intellectual approach to things, and causes." Hernandez doesn't believe in the absurd and surreal. He also is not a part of the magical or fantastical realism current. Aguilar simply describes it as "his vision of reality that is terrible and hidden, fantastic, mysterious" Yet, irony and sarcasm are constant in this vision. The artist reminds us that there is no foundation to the world as we look at it. It is futile to limit it within the bounds of reason. His lines, which are a metaphor for proportion and balance, can't contain the formless. Malpartida says, "The ruler and bevel call the irrepressible Shadow to Order, and the Shadow, spilling over while outlining smile, covers the Utensils of Reason, quenching it thirst for measure, balance, and order,"

Jose Hernandez's early career as an architect was responsible for the geometries and architectural elements that are reminiscent of classicism. He was a draftsman for many years, initially in Tangier, an international protectorate, and then in Madrid, where his family moved to when he turned 20. His amorphous figures are often accompanied by lines, grids and porches. This allows them to coexist from the beginning and helps the paintings gain greater prominence.

This is what happens to some engravings in the exhibition "Jose Hernandez." The other side to reality. The etchings under the title "Anemos", "Systematic table" or "Malay table" show architecture dominating the scene with a refined style where human figures are more rare. Hernandez's other works, like 'Portico", 'Minotauro, or 'Punta sur, play with the presence of portals and doors. These openings or closings create anguish because they don't reveal what's behind.

Jose Hernandez is a painter as well as an engraver. These two inseparable modalities were cultivated by Hernandez with the same intensity throughout all his artistic career. In 1989, he said it this way in his acceptance speech to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando: "When I say painting, I also mean engraving. Because these two activities are inseparable and because they are inseparable. They are complementary." Many of his engravings on copper plates he did later transfer to canvas using oil brushes. Some of the etchings that were displayed in San Lorenzo's church are an example of this.

His pictorial work uses a variety of ocher colors, but in his engravings, it is the entire range of grays, which can be made on paper with light ivory tones. Hernandez's etching technique, often on a copper plate allows him to make the most out of his figurations. He is able to demonstrate his mastery of the line and stroke, which is why his meticulous work is highly appreciated.

Jose Hernandez's work is so unique that one could say it "the art and not looking like anyone", a quote from Paco Nieva (a friend of Jose Hernandez). It is not without its baroque elements, but there is a reference to Bosch and the Brueghel dynasties. The paintings of the painter/engraver have a Gothic and romantic aesthetic that exude a sense of melancholy. The imprint of Francis Bacon can be seen in his portraits. Hernandez was a painter who met him in Tangier.

Tangier, a city in the north of Morocco that is international, was the center of many artists from diverse backgrounds. Jose Hernandez grew up there and was fed by them. He has been drawing since childhood and attends cafes where poets, painters as well as musicians and filmmakers gather. It's a time of painting and books, as well as a lot of reading. Hernandez's relationship with literature is evident from the beginning, particularly with the Beat Generation. His engravings will be used to illustrate many pages of these books, which are considered bibliophiles.

Some examples of this can be seen in the etchings at the exhibition "Jose Hernandez." The other side to reality. One of six etchings based on Gustavo Adolfo Becquer's poems, the one entitled "Miserere" is one of them. He made nine prints two years later to illustrate "Rashomon", the story of Ryonosuque Akutagawa. Pedro Paramo's magnificent print, one of eighteen in a series, completes Juan Rulfo’s 1992 book with the same title. In tribute to the horse, the series 'Rayo sin llama’, which included eleven etchings and the poet from Antequera Jose Antonio Munoz Rojas was screened later in 1993.

Jose Hernandez, who was born in Madrid, continued his artistic development, meeting writers, painters, and other personalities from the worlds of theater and cinema. He has been involved in many theatrical projects since 1974, as both a costume designer and set designer. The posters for the exhibition "Jose Hernandez" are shown below. This is the other side of reality.

Hernandez, who was awarded the National Prize for Plastic Arts 1981, began to split his time between Madrid and Villanueva del Rosario. He set up his workshop in the El Tejar mill. This also merits the honor of being the adopted son of Malaga. He is regarded as the greatest engraver of all time, having been awarded the National Prize for Graphic Art 2006 His etchings and his painting are not to be missed. Hernandez's work has been recognized and awarded at many art fairs around the globe. The Museum of Contemporary Spanish Engraving awarded the last one, the prize for professional graphic work.

Jose Hernandez with Joaquin Sabina, his friend.

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