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7-a-b-9( Publicaciones individuales/El oficio de vivir)

Illustrator, Object Maker
The appreciation for technique and for material creations —and, consequently, for the object— that has paralleled the progressive implementation of the industrial society has been among the most significant features of the Western culture during the last two centuries.
As Tomás Maldonado pointed out in his research on the presumptions and the historical precedents of industrial design[1], the innovating philosophical approach of the Enlightenment —as opposed to its trademark despise for mechanical arts, which implied a limitation in the conception of culture and a social discrimination— triggered the aforementioned process of consideration that spun into highly diverse disciplines and expressed itself through them.
Modern pedagogy echoes this explicitation through an emphasis on manual skills, which are conceived as a necessary facet of an integral education[2].
Geography and politic economy also display this trend in their vision on media and production relations, as well as their influence in the configuration of the major contemporary ideologies. In the context of Marxist theory and praxis, the keystone postulation of the material culture concept was made by O. Brik (1888-1945), who promoted the Productivist teachings of the Vhutemas (Arts and Technical Crafts Workshops created in 1920 in the USSR).[3]
The role of technique and material work has also been highly emphasized in prehistoric archaeology[4], with founders C.J. Thomsen and Worsaae’s definition of the progressive archaeological timelines (the Carved Stone Age, “Paleolithic”; the Polished Stone Age, “Neolithic”; the Copper Age, “Calcolithic”; the Bronze and Iron Ages); also with the classification of societies according to their technology development, which was formulated by the anglo-saxon ethnographists E.B. Tylor and Lewis Morgan as a now obsolete categorization (savagery, barbarism and civilization). Still in this field, it is significant that anthropologists and paleonthologists Leakey, Tobias and Napier named homo habilis a hominid that was able to produce stone tools dating from 1.8 million years in modern humans’ philogenesis.
The appraisal of the cultural legacy inherent in material creations is also behind the museums of ethnography and folklore, which aim to illustrate non-Western cultures and traditional ways of life, and the museums of ornamental arts, which purport to exhibit and value the technical, material and aesthetical qualities of manufactures. The hugely varied range of objects conserved in both kinds of museums are a reflection and an exponent of the cultural and patrimonial assessment of material creations.
Contemporary art and design have been other areas where the consideration and vision of objects have fostered fertile analysis and contributions.
As the Spanish art critic Pilar Parcerisas has stated, “The fascination for the object in a wide range of meanings and nuances has opened unforeseen experimental options for the art of the last hundred years, which have altered the subject/object dialectics insofar as, in the late twentieth century, objectivization of subject has superseded the subjectivization of object—in other words: we must no longer conceive the object as a piece of art, but the piece of art as an object.”[5]
The Dada and Surrealist creators’ contribution (Arp, Duchamp, Ernst, Oppenheim, Miró, etc.), with the so-called “found objects” and “ready-made”, the pop creators’ suggestions (Oldenburg, Warhol, etc.), Joan Brossa’s object-poems, Donald Judd’s minimalist sculptures, etc., are other significant instances of the major role and the appraisal of the object in the art of the 20th century.
If the art has explored and vindicated the aesthetical and expressive dimensions of the objectual world, the design theory has emphasized the variables of the man/object ecosystem, which has considered as the matrix configurating de artificial environment.
All this non-comprehensive mishmash of references is also witness to the multiple visions and contributions brought along by distinct disciplines converging in the meaning of what has been called the culture of the object from a general concept and from the design theory.
A valorative and critical approach to Carmelo Hernando’s objectual work must naturally and inescapably be undertaken and analysed in keeping with the polysemous dimension of this culture of the object, since their creations express and shape the homo faber’s maturity regarding the mythical-poetical implications and proprieties underlying the material and iconographic pieces created in all ages out of necessity, pleasure or desire.
Carmelo Hernando is an object maker who combines a great intuition and plastic sensitivity with a deep knowledge of what these objects are and what they mean.
A restless, enterprising soul, like an alchemist he tries to transmutate material reality onto a tangible dimension in order to invest this physicity with the greatest symbolic, expressive irradiation.
His awareness of the object’s essence, their evocative power and their poetic dimension has turned him into a specialist in projecting densely nuanced objects.
Some examples of this endeavor are to be found among his multiple works in the area of corporate imagery of companies and institutions, as well as his original of cultural merchandise creations.
Carmelo Hernando has consistently been a precursor, a driving force, a creator, a definer[6] in the introduction to our context of the innovating typology and repertoire of objects related to the consumption of culture as a result of the recent extension and dynamization of museum and cultural institutions with their wide offer of themed and temporary exhibits and activities.
As a professional in an innovating field of design, Carmelo Hernando has confronted the absence of pre-established working methods through the development of his own practices and methodologies out of his intelligence, his highly demanding character and his rich career in the arts.
In his procedural methods, we could stress how rigorously and exhaustively he tackles the conceptual definition and the historical, literary, and ethnographic research stages, as well as the great attention he pays to materials and their organoleptic features, their quality, their finishes.
With his trademark sense of synthesis, Carmelo Hernando blurs the boundaries of two-dimensional and three-dimensional design—the visual, iconic with the material, textured one dimensions.
An experimented creator in the practice of photomontage and collage, Carmelo Hernando is a bricoler and a recycler of shapes and images who, in the wake of one of his favorite masters, Joan Brossa, considers imagine to be about unearthing that which exists and investing it with new dimensions.
Inscribed in a contemporary attitude where ductility is assumed as a factor in the social application and implication of art, and where sustainability is related to the ecosystem of images and shapes, Carmelo Hernando is an enlightened designer and a poet of the objects.
©Josep Mañà
©Fundación Caja Rioja
Logroño, 1998
I.S.B.N. 84-89740-13-5
D.L. LR-247-1998
 ©Josep Mañà
  ©Caja Astur
 Oviedo, 2000
 I.S.B.N. 84-89740-13-5
  D.L.. AS-2259-2000

[1] Tomás Maldonado, El diseño industrial reconsiderado, Gustavo Gili Diseño, Barcelona 1993, p.p 19-26.
[2] Edouard Bonnefous, Le Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Paris 1987.
[3] Alexandre Cirici, “Cataluña en la historia del diseño”, Cataloge of the exhibit El diseño en España, Ministerio de Industria y Energía, ADGFAD, ADIFAD, ADP, BCD, Barcelona, p.p 155-160
[4] Jean Poitier, Ethnologie Générale, Editions Gallimard, Paris 1968, p.p 731-735.
[5] Pilar Parcerisas “L’objecte en l’art cátala del segle XX”, AVUI, Barcelona, 17/VI/1992, p. 28.
[6] In this respect, it is interesting how she has used the term “cultural merchandise” to name the highly symbolic and significant object. There is a wider, differential nuance relating to the traditional meaning of this English word: it refers to the application of brands or logos on to diverse media.