basel

View of “Diango Hernández,” 2011.

Diango Hernández

Nicolas Krupp Contemporary Art

View of “Diango Hernández,” 2011.

Diango Hernández has in the past noted, both slyly and acutely, his own “tropical sensitivities.” Certainly they could be discerned in the Düsseldorf-based Cuban artist’s quietly exhilarating exhibition in Basel, though not in the conventional or clichéd forms that evocations of the tropics so often take; there were no potted palms or brightly patterned tiles. Instead, the elegant if strangely alien modernism (Europe by way of the Caribbean and back again) emanating from the objects, paintings, and assemblages on view seemed keyed to a peculiar humidity. That is to say, if one were to gauge the atmosphere of these works, it would be both stifling and sexy, and definitely wet.

But water, in all its forms—liquid flood, steamlike evaporation, crystal-like ice—was the point of Hernández’s show. See the suite of nine small framed works on paper, Cristales, 1936 (all works

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