Sebastian Hernandez

Suspended Susto: A L.A. Flor, December 2016
Performance
60 minutes

Puesto, Pues No, November 30, 2017
Performance
60 minutes

Tragame Tierra,
October 2017
Photograph

FTZ( Foreig/Free Trade Zone) , December 2017
Installation
Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, CA 18.

FTZ( Foreig/Free Trade Zone) ,
December 2017
Installation
Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, CA

Cumbre: look as far as you can see in every direction-north and south east and west,
January 21, 2018,
Performance
60 minutes

Falling Up,
January 11, 2019
Sculpture
Water, plastic bags, twine, diamonds, food coloring

Econorotic Complexity, June 20, 2018
Performance
20 minutes

SALIVA,
May 20, 2018
Performance
40 minutes

PEEL,
February 22, 2019
Performance
50 minutes

CARNE,
June 28, 2019
Installation
7 min Video, milk cartons, LED light,

Indestructible Column, September 25, 2019
Performance
10 minutes

Anther,
September 13, 2019
Performance
30 minutes
LACE, Los Angeles

Anther,
September 13, 2019
Performance
30 minutes
LACE, Los Angeles

Hypanthium,
June 26, 2018,
Performance
60 minutes

Hypanthium,
June 26, 2018,
Performance
60 minutes

Pistil,
May 16, 2019
Performance
60 minutes
Navel, Los Angeles

Pistil,
May 16, 2019
Performance
60 minutes
Navel, Los Angeles

Pistil,
May 16, 2019
Performance
60 minutes
Navel, Los Angeles

Advent East,
August 3, 2019
Performance
20 minutes
Fire Island, New York

 

My work is an interdisciplinary practice that incorporates movement,  performance, sculpture, photography, video, and sound. I’m interested in performance that merges visual art and movement at an intersection that places  aspects of my gender and queerness in a difficult conversation with histories of power and racialized capital. This manifests through the transformation of materials I interact with in my work. It’s important for me to work with materials that are commonplace in working class, Brown (Latinx working class Mexican and indigenous) communities. These materials range from fruit, to decorative party objects, and utilitarian objects like grocery bags. These objects are culturally specific and together inform what I consider a Brown aesthetic. It’s this aesthetic that I interrogate through performance and attempt to understand as a language. These materials also function as works in and of themselves as objects I exhibit in gallery spaces.

 

In 2013 I attended a 2 day conference at The Hammer Museum titled ” Dancing With the Art World” where critical reflection was emphasized on the historical relationship between dance and art; particularly dance within art spaces like museums and galleries. At the time I was familiar with performance art in Los Angeles but had not really taken into consideration the presence of “dance” as an included art form. Yet I had grown up with dance in church performances, house parties and Aztec dancing that would eventually become a foundation for my understanding of movement. This conference remains seminal to formative ideas I have about my practice as a maker. It prompted me to seek formal training in dance once I entered UC  Berkeley.

 

In 2017 I developed and performed FTZ (Foreign/Free Trade Zone),a research based installation and performance. The installation/performance initiates a transaction between the viewer and myself, exchanging intimate photos concealed in an envelope with money. The transaction is contextualized in a space surrounded by photographs from a project I started titled “brown commonz”. “Brown Commons” was inspired by the writtingsof queer thoerist Jose Esteban Munoz, whom wrote about the commonalities that bonds brown people by the ways in which they suffer and flourish under duress. It is a photographic project documenting contemporary brown masculine subjects coming and going to work along with images of objects, places, and people that physically represent a sense of brown to me; a furtive research  project that I practiced over the course of a year. I juxtaposed images from Brown Commonz with images from Leonard Nadel’s documentation of Mexican laborers being sprayed with a toxic pesticide to show a historical anecdote of the trauma and exploitative history the brown body in the United States. The installation implicates the viewer in making a trade for a product unbeknownst to them with a value only revealed if the trade is made. In the performance which culminated in a dance space near the gallery, I used plastic bags filled with colored water as reservoirs harnessing trauma from events I researched; such as the dehumanizing treatments of Mexican migrant workers in the Bracero Program (1942-1964). I embellished my body in pink foil curtains which I wore as a headpiece representing an Aztec headpiece and walked in pink heels, presenting myself as a gender queer body. I painted cardboard Aztec glyphs on cardboard and spread them around space as grounding objects of my cultural heritage. I used movement scores improvised to sound and voice over texts by Comandante Esther from the EZLN (Zapatistas) demonstrating what it means to enact beauty in spite of fascism, the violence of globalization, and violence against indigenous women.

 

In 2018 I presented a video and sculpture in an exhibition titled Pasado Mañana . In a video titled Brown Zero,  I created an immersive palimpsest containing video documentation and visuals of combat video games, vogue dance, Cumbia dancing, and personal footage of my Aztec dancing, overlayed with lasers, Latino queer porn , rose petals falling and images of buildings getting destroyed. Riffing on “ground zero,” Brown Zero  pivots from Eurocentric art canons to center an indigenous perspective that too often feels like building from scratch and very few remnants of knowledge of my cultural history due to colonization. Adjacent to the video, I installed a sculpture titled Falling Up that was composed of materials I had previously been familiarizing myself with in performances. I created a cascade of plastic water filled bags hung from the ceiling with jute twine that created a yellow to dark green ombre gradient. The sculpture emobodied the vulnerability and fluidity of my trans femme body through its undeniable presence in space and fragile vaporizing ephemerality.

 

Early in 2019 I presented a work titled Hypanthium. Hypanthium is a trio performance performed at REDCAT theater that confronted my own experiences and ideas about sisterhood, space and power through an  experimental collage of video, movement, and sound. I created an experimental video of myself that used slow motion, quick cutting and layered video effects.  It initiated at the beginning of the performance where an emotionally distraught femme figure ran across a bridge that connects the East Side of Los Angeles to downtown while fireworks were exploding in the sun setting background. The video queered and took note of the violent war like political climate we find ourselves now. I worked with self identified dancers to choreograph a performance and dance that was a fast paced, supple, and grounded. The dance incorporated an emphasis on rigorous floor work that mixed modern dance technique with subtle gestures of vogue and every day feminine body gestures. The dance balanced masculine and feminine energy. I curated a contemporary list of sounds that flowed with the perfromance from start to fninsh; electronic dance music,  heavy industrial soundtracks, experimental poetry,  gabber and a hint of pop that kept the flow of the performance exciting, intense, and erotic.  A significant part of this project was inviting and collaborating with artist who’s visual and performance work I’ve resonated with and whom I had exhibited and worked with in the past. I invited artist Maria Meae who works with ice and fruits in her art making. We collaborated on making “fashionable” ephemeral ice bags that the trio would use during performance. I also collaborated with Rafa Esparza to create arrestive wooden chairs that served as sculptures that became activated by each performer. I brought artists and their aesthetic lineages into a theater space where materials used by performers were not props but instead valued art objects that together worked with dance and performance art.

 

I’m continuing to experiment with my relationship to objects and movement by building on the modality that Hypanthium progressed through. Im interested in continuing to collaborate with other artists and build on my relationship to making and performing with sculptures and experiment with video and sound. I’m committed to contributing culturally and politically significant art that makes a queer trans femme and decolonial identity of Browness visible.

Sebastian Hernandez/ CV

Education

2016                B.A. University of California, Berkeley, Art Practice and Dance and Performance Studies ( Double Accepted Fall 2016)

Select Exhibitions

2019                L.A. Fonts, East Los Angeles Backyard, Los Angeles, CA.

2019                Indestructible Columns, Performance Space New York, New York City, NY.

2019                Love+/Fear, LACE, Los Angeles, CA.

2019                BOFFO Performance Festival , Fire Island, New York, NY.

2019                The Muses, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA.

2019                Liberate the Bar, One Archives, Los Angeles, CA.

2019                Pistil, Navel, Los Angeles, CA.

2019                Mulan Make Up, Taiwan Academy, Los Angeles, CA.

2019                Hypanthium, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA.

2018                Here:Zero , for (de)- Color-Es, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA.

2018                Dialogues in Times: Charting Genealogies and Intersections of Gender,                                                                      Referentes” ArtBo Fair, Bogota, Colombia.

2018                Hypanthium, “REDCAT NOW Festival”, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA.

2018                Saliva, for Una Obsesion Peligrosa//A Dangerous Obsession”, Human                                                                       Resources, Los Angeles, CA.

2018                Econorotic Complexity, “TRIO Magazine Launch”, ICA LA, Los Angeles, CA.

2018                FINA, “De La Calle/ A La Calle”, ICA LA, Los Angeles, CA.

2018                Suavemente, “SCUM x Cyclona for Dirty Looks”, Chicos, Montebello, CA.

2018                Violent Erotics: A Dream With A Vaquero, “With Land”, Artpace, San Antonio,                                                          TX

2018                Falling Up, “Pasado Manana”, Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles, CA.

2018                El Corazon Del Espantapajaro, “PST: LA/LA”, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA.

2018                Corpo Ranfla, “Variedades”, The Mayan Theater, Los Angeles, CA.

2018                Rafa Esparza: cumbre: look as far as you can see in every direction—north and                                                         south, east and west, MOCA Geffen, Los Angeles.

2017                FTZ, “Coastal/Borders”, Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, CA.

2017                Beto And I for For You and the Sky, Atkinson Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA.

2017                Tragame Tierra, Alta Dena Recreational Park, Los Angeles, CA.

2017                Puesto, Pues No for Fantasies and Fallacies, Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles, CA.

2017                XALA, Civic Center Studios,  Los Angeles, CA.

2017                After Entering Exits, Redcat Performance Space, Los Angeles, CA.

2017                Encuentro 37, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA.

2016                Suspended Susto: A L.A. Flor, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA.

2016                Violent Flowers/Fatal Prisms, Zellerbach 170, University of California Berkeley,                                            CA.

2015                BROWNSKINHAZEL, Mustache Mondays, Los Angeles, California

2014                no water under the bridge, Boyle Heights, CA (performance in collaboration with                                          Rafa Esparza)

2014                chino, indio, negro, Perform Chincatown, Chinatown, CA (performance in                                                     collaboration with Rafa Esparza)

2014                A Gut Reaction pt. 2, University of California Berkley

2014                I Get So Frustrated, University of California Berkeley, California

2014                Dia De Los Muertos, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, CA

2013                Global Motions World Dance, The Broad Stage Theater, Santa Monica, CA

2013                Lucha VaVOOM, The Mayan Theater, Los Angeles, CA

 

Prizes and Awards

2019                Bar Fund Award

2016                Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities Research Scholarship Recipient

2016                Theater, Dance and Performance Studies Workshop Awardee

2015                Independent Art Honors Awardee, University of California, Berkeley

2014                Best Sculptor Award Scholarship, Santa Monica Community College

Residencies and Fellowships

2017                2017-2018 Show Box L.A./We Live In Space Artist Residency Program for                                                   Choreographers

Publications

Carla, “Sebastian Hernandez at NAVEL”, Carla, May 16, 2019.

Art Viewer, “Beatriz Cortez and Rafa Esparza at Commonwealth& Council”, Art Viewer, March 1, 2018. http://artviewer.org/tag/sebastian-hernandez/

Relieve Contemporaneo, “Pasado Manana”, Relieve Contemporaneo. http://relievecontemporaneo.com/pasado-manana/

Bibliography

Raquel Gutierrez, Baby Themme Anthems: On the work of Sebastian Hernández, Open Space SF MOMA, May 30, 2019. https://openspace.sfmoma.org/2019/05/baby-themme-anthems-on-the-work-of-sebastian-hernandez/.

Raquel Gutierrez, Performing Across from the White House, Artist Rafa Esparza Chips Away at the Myths of Democracy, Art News, September 27, 2019. https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/rafa-esparza-white-house-13276/

BESE, ” Finding Liberation in Art with Sebastian Hernandez | Be You, BESE, December 7, 2018. https://youtu.be/iYYFkZsrxXo

Matt Stromberg, “The History of  A Major L.A. Trading Port Surfaces In A New Performance”, Hyperallergic December 13, 2017 https://hyperallergic.com/416754/the-history-of-a-major-la-trading-port-surfaces-in-a-new-performance/

Laia Garcia, “Latinx: Art Angels”, DAZED, August 23, 2018. http://www.dazeddigital.com/art-photography/article/41042/1/south-central-los-angeles-latinx-art-whitney-biennial

Alana Reibstein, “Alana Reibstein On the NOW Festival at REDCAT, Week Two” , Riting, August 1, 2018. http://www.riting.org/post/176533516634/alana-reibstein-on-the-now-festival-at-redcat

Art Viewer, “Beatriz Cortez and Rafa Esparza at Commonwealth& Council”, Art Viewer, March 1, 2018. http://artviewer.org/tag/sebastian-hernandez/

Relieve Contemporaneo, “Pasado Manana”, Relieve Contemporaneo. http://relievecontemporaneo.com/pasado-manana/

Irana Contreras, “A Moment of Respite: Looking Back at PST LA/LA…”, Art Practical, April 10, 2018. https://www.artpractical.com/column/features-a-moment-of-respite/

Monica Uszerowics, “Artist Build a Lush Landscape Where Diversity Takes Root”,  Hyperallergic, February 23, 2018. https://hyperallergic.com/428693/artists-build-a-lush-landscape-where-diversity-takes-root/

Jenny Yurshansky “Searching For Home/Leaving Yourself Behind” notes on looking: Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, September 15, 2015 http://notesonlooking.com/2015/09/searching-for-home-leaving-yourself-behind/

Carol Chen “Rafa Esparza with Sebastian Hernandez no water under the bridge, Fourth Street Viaduct” Another Righteous Transfer, March 15, 2014 https://anotherrighteoustransfer.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/rafa-esparza-with-sebastian-hernandez-no-water-under-the-bridge-fourth-street-viaduct-march-15-2014/