A historic stone and metal fence painted in red separates the street from the Tangier Theatre. It is clearly closed at the back, with the opening date, 1913, carved into its frontispiece like a death wound. On one side the reality of the street; on the other, the dramatised world of dreams. There is a guard who surprises the curious person who approaches the fence. Because of his clothes and his hieratism he could be from that time. He is alive, and with gestures he invites you in. As soon as rays of light enter the interior, the atmosphere is charged and when the eyes settle down what they discover is nothing in pieces. Seats piled up, a rickety stage, woods raised. Only the facade of the Gran Teatro Cervantes remains. When reality ruins dreams, when time devours the use of space, all that remains is resignation for what has been lost or the impulse to revitalize the archeology of an ideal.
This is a task for people with tenacity, for optimistic creators, for magicians of shapes and colour capable of giving new life to the past that we never wanted to lose. Now that Consuelo Hernández, a lover of the old Tangier, has exhibited a wide sample of her canvases, the "portraits" of the old stranded Tangier theatre are presented in the central area of the exhibition, the emblem of an aesthetic and vital posture of the artist. There is nothing irretrievable, there is no lost dream that art cannot recreate.
Consuelo comes from a place and a time when effort and care for detail were the keys to being able to walk straight in life. Her work is like that. Landscapes or spaces perfectly defined and delimited. A taste for classical arrangement informs his compositions. The applied colours vibrate, but do not squeak. A world reorganized by the artist's eye to breathe classicism into urban prints.
In the midst of these landscapes, human figures appear that seem to have seen everything and that accommodate their gaze to an infinite that at the same time applauds and surprises them. Consuelo has seen the change of the world in this transit of two centuries and knows that in the perplexity is the portrait of contemporary beings. Even before the pandemic, and much more logically now. Sometimes one doubts whether they are looking or dreaming. At the end of the day, there is nothing like a clearly realistic work of art to touch the border of the surreal. The dream world.
Under the formalism of the scenes, the artist's soul palpitates. This could be her painted diary. In Madrid, in Italy, in Asia and back in the Tangier of her loves, the landscapes and the characters are close to her. They are part of a vital itinerary that reveals bitterness and satisfaction in equal parts, a fresco of the steps of life. This great exhibition of Casa de Vacas in the great park of El Retiro in Madrid, with 60 works hung, certifies the dreams fulfilled or painted to become reality. Like the one to reopen the Tangiers theater in which he has put so much effort with his paintings and his writings. While the time comes, we take a 'petite' blue taxi to the Café Hafa. My favourite painting in the exhibition. A curved shadow next to the open door of the vehicle makes the scene uneasy. Those who know it know that, behind the white wall and the unpromising door next to the name of the café, a corridor opens up to a dreamy, ecstatic look: the sea, the strait, the continent... The painted dreams.
Consuelo Hernández, a painter linked to Tangier, who is the protagonist of her work, struggles for the maintenance and reopening of the architectural jewel of the Gran Teatro Cervantes in Tangiers - whose property has just been transferred by the Spanish state to Morocco - once again pays homage to the city of the Straits and to Morocco in the great retrospective organized in Casa de Vacas, in the Retiro Park in Madrid. "The world I inhabit" is the title given to this great display of his work, which also travels through Asian and European geographies. Javier Martin-Domínguez analyses his work with special reference to the Tangiers motifs in it.