Sofía Imber

Classing Frank Hyder only as an artist of ecological theme is to shed little light on the obsessions and concerns that constitute his work, contemporarily effective. For the illustrated reading by Fernando Savater, environmentalists are fundamentalists, that constantly struggle to get out of the utopia of modernity, perhaps moving toward a future - or returning to a past - attached to nature and its inexorable laws, to which we are still subject, even though modernity. While his hewn woods, gesturally intervened, forming altarpieces, altars or boxes, objects of ritual content, clearly express his concern about the extremely precarious relationship - between man and nature, his approach to the ancestral does not occur as an insurgency versus technology, or global, but rather venturing a dialogue with multicultural.

There is some common sense in his concerns, if we remember Jefferson criticized the cities in the name of democracy and a political empiricism, which Emerson also did on behalf of a metaphysics of nature and that Thoreau in Walden or life of forests (1854) proposed a return to a kind of rural state that is supposed to be compatible with the economic development of an industrial society that allows by itself to ensure freedom, blooming of the personality and even the real sociability; ideas that almost a century after the hippie movement took as its own for the establishment of community experiments.

Smithson, American artist of land art wrote in 1966 an article entitled The entropy and the new monuments where he presents, under entropic vision of the future of the universe, the earth as a closed system that only has a certain number of resources. Aware of this entropic geology by whose action the earth materials evolve and become worn out, Smithson was more concerned with other type of entropy: the cultural.

Based on the thesis of Lévi-Strauss, of the existence of hot cultures that generate a lot of entropy for being structurally complex societies and cold cultures, which for being primitive or simple hardly generate entropy, before the wearing out of our culture for being highly developed, he proposed combating cultural entropy, with no nostalgic or romantic solutions as simplifying the structures of our culture going back to primitive origins, to a time and an economy that no longer point to the future to dwell on cyclic states, as in the bottom all the fundamentalisms propose .

Combating entropy of the West from within the system and through art was his proposal, and it there is a point of agreement with Hyder, beyond generational proximity. As Hyder’s interest should not be considered merely environmentalist, the encounter of the multicultural does not show only an ethnographic emphasis: nothing further from the obsessions of the artist that the pursuit of the Noble Savage. Focusing the dialogue on the ancestral, his work is devoted to the recovery of a memory of the sight: that of man's relationship with the natural order in our days so full of information and contingency, because the more we know more we forget.

Already in the catalog of his exhibition at the MACCSI, in 1996, we noted that his work refers to those basic principles of ancestral communion that exist between art and the cosmos, a kind of universal invocation to preserve creation. With him, we are before an artist whose passion for saving the planet from a possible extinction, overcomes the pamphlet and transforms into a language of profound artistic quality. His work and his thinking, close to the conceptual and physical space in Latin America brought him to our country in 1991, bringing pieces where the combination of the strength of the trade and technical mastery of the experimental nature in dealing with the material stood out. His speech is enhanced by the dimension that the reflection gives on the danger of the imminent disappearance of cultural and ecological communities in a planet infuriated by the excesses of a misconceived political and technological progress. Wood and paint is transmuted into pure energy and transmit their own cry against the abuses that impede the worthy living in harmony with the environment, making of his an art in open dialogue with the sensitivity and awareness of an existence questioned by ourselves.

But he must be recognized for something more than for his work as an artist concerned with the fate of the species, this could only be achieved by taking his obsessions to his vocation for teaching. Hyder is certainly a teacher, in the plural dimension of the word, which reveals him as one who is always looking for ways to teach what should be learned. Not a few generations workshops have fed on his research, of his interpretation of the intersection between cultures and natural environment and the way he has translated them into materials and concepts, to help build a closer awareness and sensitivity , yet more universal, of the world as habitat of the human being.

This exhibition pays homage to his dual role as artist and teacher, giving him the multiplying capacity of the museum institution. That is a wake-up call to the reality of our precarious human ecology and a summons for the search of solutions to reverse its ostensible deterioration.

Sofía Imber
"Memories of the New World"
Museum Jacobo Borges
November 4,2001 to May 16, 2002
Caracas, Venezuela