Nelson Hernández | “I really didn’t expect to win”

Artespacio gallery has performed, together with 4 año Chilean bank and BBVA Chilean bank the Artespacio Joven contest. This contest, which has got great reception, this year had about 400 participants, with several techniques and languages that allow us to appreciate an overall picture of the production of the Chilean young scene.

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The winner of this year, Nelson Hernández, tells us how it was for him the experience of winning the first place.

Nelson Hernández is a Chilean painter and drawer. Oddly and fully aware that the current visual art is focused in installation, conceptual art, and new media, he decided a long time ago to devote himself to painting with art traditional materials, like oil, watercolor, acrylic, gouache. “I think that there are visual artists that rarely paint, I mean, their visual work sometimes can culminate in the space of the painting. My case is a little bit different. I consider myself a painter and in that sense, I start from the painting”, he explains.

I didn’t expect to win, mainly because you can see my painting as the most common thing; an oil on canvas portrait, with a name deliberately dry, from inventory. (Mujer sentada sobre silla).

How was it the preparation phase for the contest?

During the first half of the year, I focused on investigating, on mistaking a lot, and try different ways to work. They were testing materials, refining and adjusting a type of painting that I wanted to achieve, leaving too many uncompleted pieces in the way… I knew about this contest early this year, so as soon as the date arrives, I sat to make a piece, having in mind some of the little discoveries that I had made. I got in touch with the model of the painting, having a clear picture of what I wanted to achieve, and I probably ended up finding it out with her.

When did you know that you won the price and what was your reaction?

I knew during the ceremony. It’s true that at the moment of entering into Galería Artespacio my painting is located in a very good place, but it happened to me something like that before and I wasn’t close to win something. So I tried to ignore that “highlighting place” and to see the exhibition. I didn’t expect to win, mainly because you can see my painting as the most common thing; an oil on canvas portrait, with a name deliberately dry, from inventory (Mujer sentada sobre silla). Inevitably I try to have a contemporary language in the room though, it is true that goes against what we are getting used to finding in a young art contest, but it seems to be a thing that the jury valuated and it was a surprise for me.

What has been your experience in other contests?

This is my second participation in this contest, and I also have participated a couple of time in the Young Art Price, of MAVI. I see them as an opportunity for putting a piece, for your name to be renowned, for feeling the pulse of what you are doing and what are doing the others. There is no time always to go to everyone’s exhibitions, and you seize to see alive the making of the pieces, there is certain camaraderie.

Now it’s my time to be the artist and things change a little bit. I think the best I can do from my place is to produce, keep me in the workshop and work

In which way will the Price benefit you in your opinion?

On the one hand, there is confidence in what you are doing. I spent most of the time in the workshop working silently and sometimes you stop seeing far what you are painting, if it’s good or not, you can start hesitating or digressing.

On the second hand, there is the moment of a high profile in which your name is repeated a little bit more, and that can help people to discover your work.

And, of course, those “little doors” begin to open, having the possibility of doing something in Galería Artespacio in the future, or some individual one so I can express my work in a complete and complex way is an ideal setting. All of that trigger what I hope to be a snowball.

Have you ever worked with other galleries? In which way?

A short while ago I am a full-time artist, however, I’m not aloof from art. During several years I was designer and I had there the chance of having a close glance how galleries work; mounting exhibitions, accompanying someone to a fair or even making works for a gallery.

Now it’s my time to be the artist and things change a little bit. I think the best I can do from my place is to produce, keep me in the workshop and work, and in that work I imagine galleries having a role of supporting and leaving you alone, both in just measure.

 

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