Video, installation, graphic and fashion design, architecture, art history and music all play a part in Raúl Cordero’s ambitious painting. The Cuban-born artist, who was a preconscious pioneer of video art in Cuba during the 1990s, has marked his return to painting by exploring a highly deconstructive approach to this medium, one where this esteemed tradition is addressed by appropriation of the genre’s historical codes, masters, and styles, and mixed with quotes and associations from contemporary art and popular culture.
For this exhibition, Cordero presents a series of 9 related oil on canvas paintings that together go under the title Hendrickje. Rembrandt van Rijn’s iconic painting of his devoted lover and common-law wife, entitled A Woman bathing in a Stream (Hendrickje Stoffels?) (1654), is taken as the structural framework for the entire series, which together forms a single painting, documented by a photograph that is also part of the work. Each canvas is a section of Hendrickje’s likeness that is layered with fragmented images taken from film, high fashion, photography, avant garde art, and the artist’s own imaginings, among other sources. Cordero subverts his own presence as a painter, letting instead the fast-paced sensitivity of video editing thread loose narratives that mash-up visual history.
Raúl Cordero: Hendrickje is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and is sponsored by MCASD’s International Collectors. Related programs are supported by grants from The James Irvine Foundation Arts Innovation Fund, the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Institutional support for MCASD is provided, in part, by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
Raúl Cordero: Hendrickje is curated by MCASD Associate Curator Lucía Sanromán.