Stories about Loss in Darkness by Eva Schmidt. 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.