“It’s Super Natural” (2002)
By: Nadia Joseph
I was introduced into the mind of Hernan Bas when his instillation “It’s Super Natural” (2002) appeared at MoCA. It was a dark room with a shack in the middle of it. I received a flashlight by one of the security guards and had to use it to guide my way through the exhibit. I thought, “finally a fun art exhibition.”
What I thought was a shack in the middle of the room was actually a clubhouse with pictures of male models from magazines. Looking around the pavilion I notice that the drawings had a lot of male characters. In the back of my mind I thought that these drawings, for the most part, looked very homoerotic. I’ll soon realize that this exhibit was meant to be more than a “fun art exhibition.”
Hernan Bas is an artist whose work circulates on the issue of homosexuality. In his series titled Slim Fast (1999-2000), he portrays fragile looking young boys covered in the Slim Fast product. In Smoked Signal (2001) he presents work on homoerotic tension, which Christian Rattemeyer, a curator for Artists Space in New York, says that it can be found in an organization’s manual that bans homosexuality. “Bas explores the gray zone between male bonding and homosexuality desire and aims to portray what he calls “fag-limbo,” a developmental moment at which decisions of sexual preference slip effortlessly in and out of androgyny.” (Rattemeyer). Rattemeyer basically believes that there is a period where we all wonder about our sexuality and we choose our sexual preference.
One of his drawings titled “Ghost of You” from the It’s Super Natural exhibition is a drawing of a boy with an expression of deep contemplation. In the background there’s a bright full moon hidden by a trees indicating the forest. Yet, the interesting part of the drawing is the ghosts that are coming up from the ground and surrounding the boy. For me, it refers to trying to come out of the closet. The boy is in the deep corner of his mind thinking whether he should openly come out or ignore what he feels. The ghost reflects everyone who may have a problem with the idea, like a family member or a friend.
Most people who are attracted to the same sex or both sexes aren’t sure if they should come out. Just like the painting, they are surrounded by their own ghosts that are making them think twice before telling anyone. Both matters can be compared to one another. The ghosts are that bit of insecurity and doubt that clouds their mind. Insecurity of the young boy displays the vulnerability that can be connected with anyone, whether homosexual or not, rendering them to fully open up about the secret that lay deep down inside.
MoCA is located at 770 NE 215th street in North Miami.
For more information visit www.mocanomi.org