"Spirit," one of three soft sculptures by Alexander Hernandez living in the Yard. Photo by Guido Villalba Portel.

Spirits; Guests; Permanent Residents; Untitled, Alexander Hernandez (San Francisco, CA).
March 2017. Soft sculptures, video. Found fabric, miscellaneous objects.

Hernandez’s works investigate displacement by creating sculptures and installations that migrate, occupy, and roam the museum. As a whole, the series references populations that live on the fringes of society, constantly in a mode of survival.

Spirits is a collection of roaming sculptures that explore material connections between Elsewhere and the greater sociopolitical world.

Intrigued by the now-closed, local, textile mills that once sourced the museum’s fabric collection, Hernandez created larger patchwork pieces using the smallest scraps of collection. Using these not-quite quilts to shroud ghost-like refugee figures, Hernandez brought his Spirits beyond museum walls to temporarily inhabit abandoned streets and alleyways of Greensboro. The piece, like all works in the series, alludes to displacement on many scales, from the textile industry that once flourished in Greensboro to the movement of peoples across borders and geographies.




Soft sculpture figures titled Permanent Residents migrated to the Glass Forest installation, mirroring Hernandez’s experience of becoming a US citizen. The Permanent Residents prompt artists who move Hernandez’s figures to think about displacement.

In a former boarding room on the third floor, Hernandez created a parallel installation titled Guests. Sculptural figures lurk in corners, embodying the fear of trying to go unnoticed– hiding in plain sight.

In the Army Surplus installation, two life-size figures hold each other in an ephemeral embrace atop an artist’s rendered body bag pile. This piece (Untitled) changes the visitors’ experience of the installation to a narrative of love trumping fear.