Artwork of the month April

Diango Hernández, Drawing (The underdevelopment is a long game, ...), 2005

Diango Hernández,

*1970 in Sancti Spíritus, Cuba

 Drawing (The underdevelopment is a long game, ...), 2005 

2005 Steel pipe, plastic letters, toy rails


Written in shiny silver letters on a rusty pipe we read the words "The underdevelopment is a long game, do you want to play?". Metal tracks of a toy train set surround the piece of broken piping: a train could only drive round and round, over and over again. A onetrack circuit. How big is the scope for development in an enclosed system of this kind? Who are the winners, who are the losers in "The Underdevelopment" game?

Both in terms of language and in his choice of this toy, Hernández makes reference to a playful component. But what does the notion of play imply? According to the dictionary, the word may refer to any "activity performed for enjoyment and recreation in itself rather than a practical purpose". When is a game still a game, when does a game become serious, thus reversing the horizon of its meaning?

The artist Diango Hernández was born and grew up in Cuba. The roots of his work can be seen in 1990s' Cuba. A period – referred to by the Cuban government as a Special Period in Time of Peace – in which the country's population was battling the consequences of a massive economic crisis. The starting point was the cessation of petroleum imports as a result of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. A situation that led to a crisis in energy supply and, by extension, to a rapid decline in productivity. To make matters worse, the USA toughened up its embargo on the country. The consequences were a wholesale collapse of industry, transport and farming. The average Cuban's inflationadjusted real income dropped by 90 per cent and a food shortage ensued.

The work Drawing (The underdevelopment is a long game, ...) can be seen in the sociopolitical context of Cuba. At the same time, using just a few elements, it induces us to ask questions, for example as to the effects on a living cycle when a connection is broken off, and mutual influence in general.

Denise Rigaud

<b>Diango Hernández, Drawing (The underdevelopment is a long game, ...), 2005 </b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.