By: Katherine Pérez (Posted on Havana 2Go Magazine. November 2017)
Contemporaneity and its multiple realities form a heterogeneous scenario which the perception of the “real” constantly transmutes by the heat of dissimilar stimuli, some of which are even contradictory. Borders that are re-defined each day, as a result of globalization and transcultural process are defended, in their physical aspect, by blood and fire. Economic interests, social neurosis fostered by the political establishment and the media, verb as a way to weave certain discourses nullified by a totally opposite action, values devoured at a frenetic pace in opposition to the statism that survives in some parts of the world , divisions, tensions, conflicts: they draw a panorama through which passing is exhausting. Understanding the world has become a task to be postponed. Better postponing it than die trying. However, in the middle of chaos, certain symbols function as anchors or handholds to make an impossible task a bit lighter. Sitting at the table
with a cold Coke in front of us, the world becomes a more understandable space. Coca Cola is real, does not change, it is at hand and everyone knows it. Coca Cola is stable, effective, relieved thirst of the body without affecting soul. Coca-Cola, along with the cockroaches, will survive the nuclear catastrophe.
In all this and more, I think as I observe, comfortably sitting in the lobby of Hotel Habana Libre, the works of the young artist Agustín Hernández Carlos. From the bar, the reassuring image of the world’s best-known soft drink flashes its natural optimism. The canvases hanging on the walls, on the other hand, deny that peaceful feeling that the icon perpetuates. And it is that the work of Agustín uses the Coca Cola image – spread to every wind that blows, due to one of the most successful marketing campaigns in the history of advertising as an excuse to transgress, to confront, to subvert codes, to reflect on the human and the divine. In these works, belonging to the series Soft Drink. Bat Drink, Coca Cola stands as the mortar that links such disparate figures as Mao Tse Tun, Michael Jackson, Picasso, Albert Einsten or Donald Trump. With that long arm that characterizes it, which does not seem to have spatial or temporal limits in the artist opinion, the same feeling of rage is provoked either inside tribal populations of Africa or among the French revolutionaries of the eighteenth century. An agonizing Marat is fainting in distress without being able to sip a little of the refreshing bottle that some evil creature, certainly belonged to the rancor aristocratic, has put right in front of him. The images – which will remain exposed at the Hotel Habana Libre during the month of November- ooze sarcasm, a tool that the artist uses spontaneously in any of the supports and artistic manifestations he dominates. The works exhibited are nothing more than the beginning of a great project that will be completed, hopefully in the near future, with sculptural objects and installations. The invitation to reflect, with the artist, about the power of images and symbols is made. Nothing better, however, than Augustine’s own words to encourage the public to this reflection:
“My work is characterized by a high level of sarcasm, where the aesthetic is opposed to the ethical, while maintaining the apparent serenity of someone who navigates between two waters, without fear of strong currents. Without any militancy, only with the commitment to be a human with autonomous criteria. I do not run away from my context. I take it as substance, to improve the taste of what I cook in each work … “