Touching without touching, 2014
Captured at various thresholds – between youth and adulthood, innocence and experience, public and private realms – and situated within a shifting terrain of interior and exterior spaces, the figures in Hernan Bas’ works are charged with potential. Bringing to mind poles of intellect and physicality, the androgynous young men in these works engage in rituals of courtship, love and death that seem to be based on a theatrical exaggeration of emotion. The construction of identity and dispersal of meaning are rendered thematically and pictorially fraught. Bas embellishes and destabilises as he describes, his brushwork often threatening to engulf, his colours edging towards over-ripe or chemical hues suggestive of transformation or intoxication.
born in Miami, Florida in 1978, lives and works in Detroit, Michigan and Miami, Florida. The artist’s recent solo institutional exhibitions include Hernan Bas: A Brief Intermission, CAC Málaga, Spain (2018) and Florida Living, staged at the SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah in 2017. In 2012 Bas opened The Other Side at the Kunstverein Hannover, the artist's first institutional solo show within Europe. A major survey of the artist's work previously opened at the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, in 2007 and toured to the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2009. Other significant exhibitions include Hernan Bas, Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich, Switzerland (2020); Hernan Bas: Venetian Blind, Victoria Miro, Venice, Italy (2020); Them, Galerie Perrotin, New York, USA (2019); Works on Paper, Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen, Denmark (2019); Time Life, Lehmann Maupin, New York, USA (2019); On the Horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Jorge M Pérez Collection, Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2017); A Sum of its Parts, Polk Museum of Art, Florida (2016); Tracing Shadows, Plateau, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2015); Aquatopia, The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep, at Nottingham Contemporary and subsequently travelling to Tate St. Ives (2013-2014); TIME, Bass Museum of Art, Miami (2013); Nightfall, MODEM Centre for Contemporary Art, Hungary, travelling to Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (2012); Contemporary Magic: A Tarot Deck Art Project, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (2011); Nothing in the World But Youth, Turner Contemporary, Margate (2011); Busan Biennale, Korea (2008); Like Color in Pictures, Aspen Art Museum (2007); Ideal Worlds - New Romanticism in Contemporary Art, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2005); Whitney Biennial (2004); and The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2002). Bas’ work was also included in The Collectors, conceived by Elmgreen & Dragset for the Nordic and Danish Pavilions, Venice Biennale (2009).
In February 2020, Victoria Miro Venice inaugurated a solo show with Venice-themed works, that had to be closed early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.