He recognises that it is "a bit soon" to hold a retrospective, but Secundino Hernández is showing his particular universe, filled with geometric figures, splashes of colour, lines and erased spaces in 'Todo es mucho', the exhibition which opened this week at the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) in Malaga.
This artist from Madrid, who is praised by critics and the public alike, is exhibiting his works from the past five years: there are 38 of them, many in large format. The display demonstrates the freedom with which Hernández conceives his work. “I have explored various possibilities. I'm not afraid to keep evolving,” he says.
This may not be a retrospective, but it resembles one. “Exhibiting here, in Malaga, where Picasso was born, is especially exciting for me,” he says.
Although he became internationally better-known in 2013, when he exhibited at Arco and attracted the attention of Don and Mera Rubell, Hernández explains that before that, he already had support from important galleries and collectors. Now, coinciding with his return to Spain after living in Berlin, he is presenting his most recent paintings, all carried out between 2013 and 2018 with the exception of one from 2004 which serves as a departure point. His pictures are filled like an artist's palette or practically empty, with canvases which are almost white and accumulations which follow the style of Spanish masters such as El Greco, Goya or Velázquez, but also the most avant-garde.
Hernández, who was born in 1975, makes it clear that he will continue to oscillate between a diversity of sizes, colours and techniques. “Large format is more performative, it makes other demands on you. I'm interested in the play between the line and the flat, but I don't just want to make pictures, I want to experiment and evolve through my painting,” he says.
The exhibition, which is curated by the director of the CAC, Fernando Francés, shows Hernández's disposition to leave loose ends: “I don't like to interpret my works, I prefer to leave it in the air. Nor do I try to reach anybody, that would seem too pretentious”. His objective, he explains, “is more intimate, I want people to understand what I do.”
Three of the works were painted exclusively for this exhibition and the artist worked upon them simultaneously: they are paintings washed with floating elements, palettes and drawings on paper and ink.
To produce his works, he creates his own tools, which he has invented with the help of his father: sharp metal points to adjust the tubes of paint, pegs to use for unpainted areas, and even a hydrocleaner. He also makes his own frames. Some canvases are abstract and others enclose dense and superimposed images through which figures can be seen. This exhibition is a whole world to be discovered.