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Récit Frangeant by Hendrik Gonzalez

Updated: May 31, 2020

Between the living and the inanimate, a fine line is drawn that makes it difficult to define this transitory space. A peripheral reef is therefore a boundary between the vital profusion of the coral reefs and the deadly power of the waves. The fringe reef is there to protect marine fauna and flora. For his first exhibition in Paris at the Espace Marguerite Charlie, Hendrik Gonzalez, a Panamanian artist with many faces, decided to take up the coral motif and create a story that revolves around the concept of "in-between" where he plays between figuration and abstraction. The artist's meticulous drawings, mixed with ink stains, create trees that spread throughout the leaf, leaving space.    

if the artist is interested in corals, he is also interested in the danger they face from climate change. Their vulnerability as well as their resistance attracts the artist, and his works question us about the future of these structures. In line with committed artists who question our relationship with the environment, Hendrik González chooses to give voice to the corals by giving them all the pictorial space; thus, they are not only elements of the landscape but the very subject of his drawings.

His commitment to the ecological theme takes an active form when he decides to insert recycled plastic that he will sew onto the paper. This gives his work a three-dimensionality that becomes a factory to turn waste into a work of art.

From a more personal point of view, corals and, more precisely, coral reefs echo Hendrik Gonzalez's immigrant status. His first experiences in France were marked by the impossibility of expressing his thoughts in their entirety, which created a barrier between his environment and himself. Coral is a symbol between the interiority of the artist and what he transmits through language. On the other hand, the vibrant colors used in the drawing appeal to the bright world of Latin America, while the black and white refer to the European classical tradition.

Hendrik Gonzalez’s "fringing tales" are mental and calm images that blur the line between fiction and reality. In this vaporous and dreamlike universe, the artist merges different materials and techniques to give life to a powerful mosaic of coral patterns.

Milena Estrada

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