The Fleshy and the Figurative: a Conversation with Secundino Hernández. By Mara Sartore
After his 2months residency at Victoria Miro Venice, Spanish artist Secundino Hernández is exhibiting the results of his Venetian studio experience which includes small-scale figurative paintings.
Mara Sartore: Is this your first residency in Italy?
Secundino Hernández: No, my first residency dates back to 1999 in Milan. I finished my studies at Accademia delle Belle Arti di Brera, then in 2005 I went to Academia de España in Rome for a 9 months course. And finally, here in Venice, it was a 2 months residency.
Mara Sartore: What challenges have you had to deal with during your residency here in Venice?
Secundino Hernández: In my practice, I usually do large-scale abstract paintings which literally have no limits in terms of size, process and with no references. So here, the main challenge was to go back to my figurative practice after many years mainly focused on abstraction. For this reason, I decided to reduce the scale and the use of living models. This was the first idea I had since the gallery proposed to me to show my work in Venice. I thought about a process where you can evolve faster because of course working with large scale paintings takes longer time. I tried to do it in a way completely new to me, so I had to try something new, to evolve towards figurative practice and going back to representation which is what I’m not doing normally in my studio in Madrid. I’m curious to see what will happen after this figurative period of my practice in Venice.
Mara Sartore: Did Venice play any important role in the inspiration for your work?
Secundino Hernández: Of course, Venice is a figurative city. It’s full of figures and colours all over, I am impressed by the fleshy tones of Venice’s architecture and the facades of the buildings… Gradually I started to look at Venice from a human and emotional perspective rather than from an architectural one.
Image: Secundino Hernández, Grapado a la piel, 2019
Charcoal, ink and dye on linen with artist frame
19 x 14 cm, 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in
© Secundino Hernández, courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice