The scream. You know, the one by Edward Munch. That is how we all reacted by the time when Covid surfaced. All news coverage was very intense and highlighted in red as panic emerged around the world. However, at the time of writing, Covid has gotten a new place in our world and reactions have started to look more like pieces by Francis Bacon, with humans who have distorted bodies and two-faced heads. On one hand, the scaredness is still there, but on the other hand, people long for a life they can remember.
The Starry Night by Van Gogh is an illustration of the view people are dreaming of seeing from their rooftop party or from the terrasse with friends at night. More so, when walking home from a fun night out. The cold breeze, shining stars, and moonlight. Many of us can recall a time when restaurants, bars, and clubs were open for endless hours and invited you to laugh the night away with your friends and friends to be. The installation work of Elmgreen and Dragset permanently exhibited at ARoS in Denmark sums up the feelings we have been left behind with. The piece named Too Late literally aims at making the audience feel like they missed out on a crazy party and now all there is left is the music that plays on repeat, empty beer bottles, and a broken disco ball. The setting is such a well-known scenario, however, during Covid, most people are no longer able to attend the typical nightlife that we know so well.
Dreams of such nights quickly diminish as we are being fed with new statistics and stories of Covid. It has become the main topic of news channels and sometimes it feels like the artist Cildo Meireles got it right with his Babel tower at Tate Modern in London. The tower of stacked radios all emit sound and represent a world with information overload. As you walk around the piece, you are hit by hundreds of sounds simultaneously and cannot make out what is actually being said, all you know is that a lot of people are saying something. With so many different takes and opinions on Covid, the feeling of not being able to figure out the main information seems relatable. Moreover, the feeling of altogether hearing too much.
As Covid has progressed, it has come to a point where many of us wish that it could be summed up by a piece by Banksy. Wanting it to be more simple with lines of black and white on a worn-down wall. Covid has been and will be a crucial concern, no matter how long it stays, and so a critical take like one by Banksy would be more than relevant; as we are not neglecting the importance of the heavy subject, but merely asking for a simple outline of it and an ability to leave it somewhat behind.
Author: Monique Veni Jørgensen
Editor: Phoebe Elliott
Visuals by: Lam Ngoc Do