Artists in lockdown Q&A: Inti Hernandez

Over the past year we have learned to organize our daily life in a different way. A lot has changed for artists too: there were no – or fewer – opportunities to exhibit work, while a lot of time was spent in the studio. How do artists shape the changing world? In the Artist in lockdown-series, we’ll talk to our artists about their experiences during the pandemic. Today’s Q&A with: Inti Hernandez.

“I also noticed how ‘social distancing’ confirmed to us how much we need each other’s presence, support and collaboration. ‘Encounter place’, a main theme in my artistic practice, has grown in relevancy and sees a revival and I believe my practice found ways to benefit from this.” – Inti Hernandez⁠

How has life been during lockdown? Has it been a time of solitude or has it brought you and your family closer together?
Life in lockdown brought our family even closer together. I enjoyed a lot of quality time with my two children; creating new indoor games, we love organizing home cinemas and I support them doing their schoolwork. Also, I refreshed my bonds of love and mutual support with my girlfriend and my dear family in law. During this period I also noticed that public outdoor spaces such as parks and playgrounds re-emerged as great and essential encounter places for the neighborhood and the community in general. We are having beautiful and interesting conversations with neighbors who we didn’t or hardly knew before the lockdown.

Did the lockdown alter your vision of the world?
I would say it improved and enriched my vision of the world.

How did the lockdown affect your art practice?
The lockdown helped me to reframe the way I use my (work) time. Due to a number of extra duties as a parent, I found myself having to organize my agenda better. Dealing with these extra time restrictions I make the best out of the time I have available in my studio and behind my screens.

I also noticed how ‘social distancing’ confirmed to us how much we need each other’s presence, support and collaboration. ‘Encounter place’, a main theme in my artistic practice, has grown in relevancy and sees a revival and I believe my practice found ways to benefit from this.

 

Could you tell me more about one specific work you created during lockdown?
During the lockdown I was able to start the construction of a new encounter place called ‘Harmonia’. It consists of a floor mosaic with a drinking fountain at the middle. ‘Reciprocity’ is the key word that inspired my design and fresh water for all is the medium to welcome people coming from all walks of life. ‘Harmonia’ is the result of a collaboration with the Protestanse Diaconie of Amsterdam and made possible thanks to the support of the Mondriaan Fonds. The Diaconie invited me to come up with a piece of art for one of the entrances to their garden, the Hoftuin: a beautiful area behind the Hermitage museum in Amsterdam, open to the public every day from 9:00 until 18:00. ‘Harmonia’ is almost ready. We hope to be able to organize an official opening this spring.

What do you think about the surge of online activities during lockdown? (Besides negative experiences, like being unable to see art in real life, were there any positive experiences? A specific initiative that inspired you?)
Despite living almost 20 years in The Netherlands I remain a typical old-school Cuban guy. Meaning that I’m usually late regarding new developments with computers, social media and online programs. I do love to collaborate together with professionals who can work their magic online and create new, exciting initiatives. For example, thanks to my collaboration with Ton Damen, an online marketer, I learnt how to make timelapses to create exciting content for people following me on Instagram and Facebook. During the lockdown it is interesting to see creativity applied in different ways. For example, I am proud of the new initiatives launched by Galerie Ron Mandos in order to keep presenting and supporting the work we do. Also, I was invited to participate in an online exhibition called ‘Silent Specific’, curated by Dayneris Brito and my mentor and friend Rene Fransisco Rodríguez. ‘Silent Specific’ generates virtual art presentations in Havana’s public space. In times of ‘social distancing’ it’s very special to get in close contact with Cuban reality by a simple click. From anywhere in the globe we take a look into Cuban reality through the lens of several Cuban artists and a prestigious Cuban art critic, curator and writer named Orlando Hernández. ‘Silent Specific’ is a loud statement on Cuban nowadays life. Please follow them on Instagram: silent_specific.

What will 2021 bring us?
After the many, many bitter and sweet surprises in 2020 I invite us to keep all our senses, our minds and hearts wide open to let the answer(s) to this question unfold in 2021.

 

ABOUT Inti Hernandez

Inti Hernandez lives and works in between Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and Havana (Cuba).

The work of Inti Hernandez is embedded in the philosophy wherein life is defined as a perpetual flow of energy. In his view the question is no longer, “What can I pick out of this flow of energy to my personal liking and benefit?” but, “What could I contribute to this flow of life that is still missing? Hernandez believes that by finding answers to this question your ideas will always be welcome and will allow you something in return.

Hernandez sees art as a medium to create conversation and dialogue. The very nature of his work embodies collaboration. He explores meanings and triggers reflection through his artistic process and through the interaction with those who engage with his work. The more ideas are adopted as another’s subject, the more energy they gather and the more they connect to something fundamental. When ideas mange to create conversations they become something undeniable.

Architecture and Industrial design are both disciplines very much interconnected with daily life. In his work Hernandez plays with their language and with their multidisciplinary habits. By doing so he ensures a special flavour of common sense in his results. Through this process Hernandez obtains vital impute out of the dialogue with people, their dreams, ideas, necessities, priorities, spontaneity and initiative. He sees art as an established institution, which can be developed into business cases and showcases so that many other interests can participate with it- supporting it and being supported by it and thus gaining a benefit from it.

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