Stories about Loss
Found furniture, found images and found texts are relics with the power to conjure memories.
Functioning as a communicative link between the artist and the viewer, they represent
both material and tool for Diango Hernández; he uses them to construct his poetic narratives
expressing mourning and loss. Diango Hernández views the museum as a dark and lonely
place: the rooms here are filled with enchantment, enigma and ambiguities, with mysterious
found objects arranged for the solitary viewer who wanders between the eras, beyond factual
reality and yet inseparably connected to it by negation, by severance.
Born in 1970, Hernández grew up on Cuba and studied Industrial Design in Havana at the
beginning of the nineties. A short time later, however, he realised that what really interested
him was artistic work – solitary work that no one had asked him to do. In those years, as we
all know, the world's political blocks crumbled and Cuba's trade relations with the Soviet Union
collapsed. “Special Period” was the term coined for this new epoch, in the hope that the
economic crisis would prove exceptional rather than lasting. Times of radical change tend to
sharpen our observation; the ability to interpret inconspicuous details becomes necessary,
so that we can comprehend changes and new circumstances. Everyday objects – and functional,
technical and decorative furnishings and fittings – unfold magical powers in times of
transition. For those who can read them, they represent the material from which stories can
be woven – personal stories that may reveal more of the truth than official pronouncements.
The starting point of the exhibition Losing You Tonight is the memory of an event in Diango
Hernández's life: for the artist, the violent death of one of his fellow pupils just before
school graduation threw a lot into question. Some weeks later, Hernández found a short text
written by that boy; it was about his first encounter with art, in a very specific place, the
museum in Havana. There, reality – according to the description in this text – was completely
invalidated in a huge sense of timelessness. Hernández associates the memory of his
friend's death and the finding of this text with recollections of a school system that left little
scope for the development of individuality. He takes up these various threads to weave a
story using the means of art. He combines ideas about everyday representation, about the
differing presence of official ideology in private and public spheres – and about the darkness
in which objects disappear to make room for immense emptiness.
Hernández has created a series of atmospheric spaces for the exhibition Losing You Tonight,
conceptualizing darkness and the disappearance of the present into memory in an enigmatic
way; spaces in which the borders between fiction and reality are blurred. He also asked friends
who are curators and theorists to write a short, personal story triggered by the idea of
darkness. They continue Diango Hernández's own working method, weaving a personal and
open view of the darkness from which dreams emerge.