hernan marina

 
 
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Brizuela, Leopoldo. “Buenos Aires by Night” de Hernán Marina. Texto muestra Instituto de Cooperación Latinoamericana de Buenos Aires. Publicado en Revista Barbaria. Agosto 2001. ESP

Brizuela, Leopoldo "Buenos Aires by Night". Text catalog exhibit. Published at Barbaria, Buenos Aires. Augsut 2011. ENG

Montornés, Frederic. “Buenos Aires by Night” de Hernán Marina.  Texto en Catálogo Colección MUSAC (2010).  /Montornés, Frederic. “Buenos Aires by Night” by Hernan Marina. Published in Catalog MUSAC Collection 2010. (ESP - ENG)

Pérez Rubio, Agustín.  “Ironías del acontecimiento” (2002). Catálogo muestra “Buenos Aires by night”, Doque Barcelona. ESP

Pérez Rubio, Augustin "An event's ironies". Text catalog exhibit Buenos Aires by Night. Doque, Barcelona. ENG

Lebenglik, Fabián.  “Turismo violento y erotismo”.  Página 12.  Agosto 2001. ESP

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hernán Marina

By Leopoldo Brizuela

 

Hernán Marina’s works take a new genre as their point of departure: “infographics”, or the information relayed via graphic images that appear in certain newspapers accompanying certain news items, generally those involving “graphic” violence.

As opposed to illustration in the traditional sense, which complements written text and enriches it with the illustrator’s interpretation, “infographics” are presented as an alternative account, a different narration of the same events that readers may prefer over a written narrative if time is short or the patience of yesteryear for reading words is lacking. On the other hand, instead of enriching written accounts, infographics reduce them to very few elements, represented by icons, computer generated symbols that in this case, articulate an “infographic narrative” language; they are signifiers that refer to narrative nuclei that can be detected in all existing stories, essential elements that are common to all human experience.

It is not surprising that the most sensational sections of the newspaper go so far as to postulate that infographics are preferable to written language. Infographics allow for or even oblige one single interpretation, as opposed to words, corrupted by polysemy. In contrast to other languages in use, infographics can be deciphered universally, like divine laws for those who believe in them: nothing can take place in Buenos Aires, Rome, Kuala Lumpur or Greenland that cannot be reduced to its icons, nothing is incomprehensible for its globalized, technological wisdom.

Hernán Marina’s works are conceived to contradict these postulates, and their least expected virtue lies in that he uses the very language of infographics, exacerbated, stretched and pushed to the limit of uselessness and ridiculousness in order to refute them. He does this with a material unable to reach unsightliness and that hardly allows for demonstrations of virtuosity. The beauty of these works by Hernán Marina, like all avant garde works, emerges from a novel representation of truth, which, after an artistic experience seems all that much more mysterious and delectable.

I said that Hernán Marina exacerbates and pushes things to the limit, and this applies to what he narrates in his works as well as how it is narrated. Among many events that have actually taken place, Marina selects the ones that unmistakably reveal political systems’ brutality or the dire extent of social disintegration: an elevator full of workers falling to a crash in a building in the Catalinas Sur complex, or a group of youths along the highway to La Plata throwing stones at a luxury bus.

In order to represent these events, and just as infographics communication relies on economy in terms of color, I would say that Marina works not with black and white, but with light and darkness. He uses light to draw icons that wind up having a sinister glow, perhaps due to their habitually childish air, or reminiscent of that white from a century ago, that would appear in ghostly sheets or the bones of the dead in tales of terror. Shadows, as in other works by Marina, hide everything that the system first victimizes and then relegates to oblivion and silence. Light and darkness thus suggest our secret ongoing everyday war instead of infographics’ immobile and harmonious order.

Lastly, we could say that these works are also full of humor, a humor that comes straight out of yellow journalism and the bizarre style of certain news items. However, this humor is, as in so many other cases, the last step prior to absolute desperation. Hernán Marina elicits a laugh that is bitter and restrained, one of our last defense mechanisms against alienation, death and definitive darkness.

 

Leopoldo Brizuela

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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