Letters post Covid-19

Our Visual Art Residency Residency and Programme Curator, Marta Pellerini, asked a series of artists to imagine and explore new ways of sharing and thinking about art in the aftermath of Covid-19.

Three months have passed since the beginning of the Coronavirus emergency. In these unstable times, we have all tried to adapt our lives – both private and professional – to these new conditions in the wake of having our daily routines brought to a halt.

However, something that has never stopped during this period is art. In fact, imagination is often inspired by limitations, and lockdown, despite all its constraints, has provided artists with opportunities to imagine and explore new ways of sharing and thinking about art.
Digital platforms, which have become the primary vehicle used to disseminate ideas, have been overwhelmed with charity auctions and numerous projects in which artists have opened the doors of their homes – which have also become studios – to present their work through images, words and videos. Even museums, foundations, private galleries or project spaces have relied on the digital in order to pursue their programmes, and international art fairs have launched alternative online events to enable galleries to continue to exhibit their works.
Once the pandemic is over, how will the relationship between the art world and the digital evolve? Will we return to the old systems or will we rely increasingly on online channels of communication?

There is much discussion about the “Anthropocene”, the current era characterized by human impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems. This impact has probably exceeded the point of no return, and many scientists consider it to be one of the causes of the pandemic’s explosion. Yet, if there is a solution to this disaster,  paradoxically it is to be found in its cause: creatures whose survival has been put at risk by humans can be preserved only and exclusively thanks to the intervention of humans themselves.  Have these concerns changed artists’ awareness about environmental issues? Can art become a key promoter of a new approach to how we interact with nature?

The epidemic catastrophe has had disastrous economic consequences for many sectors, including  the creative industry, and it is revealing to see how each country has dealt with its own crisis in this sector.
In Germany, for example, the Government  emphasized the importance of culture and of artists. In a four and a half minute video message published on 9 May, Chancellor Angela Merkel explained why artists are important for the nation and listed the various public support systems that will be provided for them.
In Great Britain, the Arts Council England has allocated 160 million pounds to the emergency, of which 20 million has been allocated to individual artists and creative professionals.
It is a completely different story in Italy, where President Giuseppe Conte, speaking in a broadcast , took only a few seconds to label artists, in one sentence, as those who “make us have fun and fascinate us. There was no recognition of the crucial professional and social role of Italian artists over the centuries. Why, in some cases, are artists considered children of a lesser God? If artists (and other professionals in the creative industry) are not adequately protected, supported and defended, will we witness not only an economic but also a cultural breakdown? How will we cope with this?

In this period immediately following lockdown, when the restrictive measures implemented to contain the contagion began to ease, we asked to artists Adam Chodzko, Alessandra Ferrini and Sinta Tantra to answer our questions and to imagine a world post COVID-19.

Marta Pellerini (Visual Art Residency Residency and Programme Curator)

Read the texts by the artists here

This project is also in collaboration with the BSR Architecture departement. To find out more about the Architecture project Letters from Lockdown, click here.