How has the life of artists in lockdown changed? How have their habits, their feelings, their work changed? Certainly, the dilated spaces and the surreality of this expectation has marked new rhythms. Many have turned their homes into temporary ateliers and others are populating social media with interesting initiatives!
Many new works of art shared on social media
Certainly, the domestic space somehow creates a more introspective relationship while social distancing creates a more intimate and “pure” artistic expression. Social media prove it: artists in times of coronavirus are becoming even more prolific. In fact, many are publishing their latest works, and are greatly enriching their production. Among these, there is also Hom Nguyen who now shares his new works created in lockdown almost daily.
At the same time, the comparison with the public is limited by the technological medium. If this, on the one hand, is an opportunity to experiment, reinvent and dare without the thought of deadlines and exhibitions to be set up, on the other, force the artists to come up with new and creative ways to engage with the public.
New Projects by Artists in lockdown
Banksy, Damien Hirst, and Ai Weiwei
Many artists in lockdown – including Banksy, Damien Hirst, and Ai Weiwei – are using Instagram to give their followers a glimpse into how they’re handling the pandemic. Banksy, before creating Game Changer, the artwork that celebrates NHS heroes, has opened a small window of domestic life to those who follow him on social networks. He posted a photo featuring images of rats wrecking disarray in his bathroom on his Instagram account. He shared it with the caption: “My wife hates it when I work from home.”
Damien Hirst on the other hand, created a new rainbow artwork to show support for the NHS. The work, titled Butterfly Rainbow, is made up of bands of colored butterfly wings, one of the artist’s best-known motifs. Damien Hirst said: “I wanted to do something to pay tribute to the wonderful work NHS staff are doing in hospitals around the country. The rainbow is a sign of hope and I think it is brilliant that parents and children are creating their version and putting them up in the windows of their homes. “
Ai Weiwei has created a video message about coronavirus where he offers support to all those who are suffering on lockdown. The video soon became part of Palazzo Strozzi’s new digital project.
From Kaws to the Balcony Art in Berlin
Kaws has also adapted to the new lockdown rules. The public performance “COMPANION (EXPANDED)” has been adapted according to the rules of social distance. If before the augmented reality of the project provided that digital versions of his coveted sculptures were located in 12 cities around the world, now the Acute Art app allows users to experience the sculpture from their homes.
In Berlin, however, some artists have transformed their balconies into an art exhibition. A group of about 50 creatives participated in Die Balkone. Life, art, pandemic, and proximity took place in the Prenzlauer Berg district, project by the Universität der Künste Berlin. The project urged residents to embark on an intimate walk in compliance with current regulations to look for signs of life, art, and points of affinity and connection.
The artists promoting the initiative said:
“Balconies are public openings to the private, it is said, and in political history. There have been both terraces of openness and hope and stages of authoritarianism and supremacy. We saw it when in Italy people started singing from the balconies during the lockdown. We saw it also when DJs from all over the world performed to entertain people.”