THE CROWN OF THE CORONA

curated by

BORIS KOSTADINOV

Part I

Introduction

Berlin, March 21, 2020.

In this historic moment, something so extraordinary is happening to all of us and it will surely be the main subject of large-scale discussions and analyzes in the future. The world during the COVID-19 pandemic is not the world we knew a few months ago. Even more - the post-pandemic world will no longer be the same as it was before.

 

Coronavirus has become the main character of a movie that sometimes looks like a second-rate dystopia. At the same time, the disease produces something like an endless TV series or a reality format where new and unexpected characters appear in each series.

The physical invisibility of the virus makes it look virtual and fictional. It is invisible to our eyes, but is present every single minute in our lives thanks to social media and news feeds. It is a kind of radiation cloud which, despite its invisibility, is capable of mass destruction. 

The destruction of health but also a destruction of all that we have taken as the basis of our full-fledged social life and established relationships within Western democracies.

 

The question now is whether the pandemic that daily affects our health can turn into a global pandemic that can affects our public morality, a virus that breaks the foundations of our civil rights. But what is happening in the field of contemporary art? How does art respond to such a dynamic environment?

What we have seen in recent months can be summed up in two main trends. Firstly, the artistic community is worried about its economic survival. Galleries, museums and educational institutions are closed. Biennials and art fairs will not be held. Projects for new exhibitions have been canceled or postponed. 

The art market in its classic forms no longer exists. How the states, their governments and their cultural policies will respond to this difficult time when artists, curators and theorists are losing their regular income?

 

As a logical result of this first trend, one can notice the second trend of a transition of art online. Internet accepts the institutional nature of a digital museum or gallery.
Now this is the only space that offers the opportunity to present artistic production, current debates and discussions.

Festivals, video conferences, workshops and publications of newly created texts are held online. The online art market is becoming the only opportunity for economic activity of artistic communities and the only possible way to generate income.

Today, the question that every contemporary artist asks is: "How can I continue and develop my career online?"

The Crown of the Corona is an international exhibition in the online spaces of Artqol.
The exhibition aims to provide a platform which presents a wide range of ideas, concepts and reactions provoked by the multifaceted issues of COVID-19.
 
Out of 259 applicants, several artists from around the world have been selected and here they are.
Zara Alexandrova
Domestic Trophy 5, 2020
aquarelle, acid-free paper 40/30 cm
In our life under quarantine suddenly we are granted more time to spend with our families, read books, watch movies etc. It is somehow ironic to imagine that there are homes where reading Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale or streaming the TV series after the book now turns from fiction into reality.
 
This kind of scenario could be specific to a social position of a woman confined to home, whose subsistence relies primarily on a man. But, we can also think of working class women who have to work in order to subsist and who historically have been able to use the workspace as momentary escape from the patriarchy of the household. In times like this “the nostalgia for the present“ no longer applies.
Anton Stoianov
Blessu, 2020
Saint Gobain glass and UV glue
20 1/10 × 20 1/10 × 1 1/5 in
51 × 51 × 3 cm
My recent works creates dynamic compositions, using mirrors, glass, UV glue for glass as primary material. The mirrors and glass paintings reflect the surrounding space, creating an environment of visible and faded reflections and shadows. In this new body of work, I am focuses on one of the rather elusive features of mirrors.
 
They always produce two reflections, a strong one which is actively visible and a faded shadow belonging to the image not made on their reflective side but on the supporting glass itself. This doubling of reflectivity one facing an-other creates a sense of infinity. This work is made in Martinique on 15th of February 2020 short before the pandemic hits.
Jenny Nijenhuis
Covert Agent-19, 2020
Material One (acrylic resin), fiberglass, wire mesh, 25 x73.5x32 cm
With worldwide lamentation over economic collapse, Covert Agent-19 stays home binge-watching movies, ordering takeout online and flattening the curve.

Artist Jenny Nijenhuis

Full bio on Wikipedia

Julia Teti
Cut off, 2020
oil on canvas, 100x70 cm
 
The current situation has led to a kind of planetary meditation where the multidimensionality of meanings, the simultaneously of the process and visual reflection or reminiscence are generated into a certain timeless artwork.
 
Each / one of the contexts of which is in the "in-between" space. This field belongs to the individual perception of the viewer and at the same time combined with others at the level of virtuality or intuition.
Kamen Stoyanov
Looking Through the Fence, 2017
Photo print on textile, ed. of 3+2AP, dimensions variable
A bench. At a minimum distance in front of it, a green wall of mesh covered with artificial greenery. A symptomatic, temporary solution in the public space of Istanbul. The Turkish metropolis, like many other metropolises, is a victim of redevelopment and lack of green spaces.

Sitting on the bench is theoretically possible, but in practice the bench becomes unusable and this is an approach to pushing people out. Sitting on benches was completely banned during the social isolation along COVID-19, and communications were possible only through digital media. A global trend even before the pandemic. The act of sitting and confronting the green wall makes it an object of reflection and meditation.
Kosta Tonev
Rear Window, 2020, photography 
For this exhibition, I am proposing a recent project, developed during the quarantine. It deals with the topic of self-isolation by referencing cinematic works dedicated to the isolation of the individual and their attempts to enact inexistent social interactions. In this project, my living room window becomes a movie screen, which displays subtitles from famous moments in film history.
 
Thus, my everyday life, seen from the position of my neighbors, becomes a mosaic of scenes from movies such as Rear Window (1954), Taxi Driver (1976) and The Shining (1980). 
1/5
Maria Korporal
The First After-Corona Kiss, 2020
The video was created in the first half of April 2020, while the world was rapidly overwhelmed by coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, and most countries were in lockdown.
 
Physical contact was identified as the main cause of infection and to be absolutely avoided. 
In this video, I visualize the tensions of this situation: the sorrow for those who fell ill and those who died, the fear to become infected and the frustration to keep friends and loved ones at safe distance.
In the end, I imagine the liberation and the beauty of the time when we can hug each other again: it will feel like the magic of your first romantic kiss ever.
Sabina Jacobsson
12.03.20
From the 12th of march and forward I have been working at home with my family in Oslo. It’s been mostly homeschooling and the chaos in having multiple roles simultaneously. It has also been a lovely time. Getting closer to each other and doing the slowly things again. Small, perhaps insignificant but noticeably conspicuous observations.
 
The making of drawings and photography in nature. The work I am presenting here is two different expressions that are put together to create a connection and a narrative.
Alexander Koxias
Emergency Blanket, 2020
Video, 1 min., 40 sec
It is a project created during quarantine in Athens in May. EB is a project talks about Wealth and Health at emergency times. A real emergency blanket - a cheap medical object - used as something expensive in a luxury design approach for an advertising piece.
 
Experimentation with material, drives me to create an experimental video for suffocation feeling -literally and metaphorically.
The title of the project resulting from commercial name of the product and works as a link with Giorgio Agamben' s work about State of Emergency that tends to be a normal state of governance.
Zoran Georgiev
We Want Change, 2020
aquarelle, acid free paper 30/40cm
For a brief moment under quarantine, I started to dream for a society where the artists and the curators are no longer entrepreneurs. A society in which their subsistence no longer depends from the market. It is ironic that thinking of the art beyond entrepreneurship today is considered utopian.
 
So, the status quo is slowly approaching and once it arrives it’ll be here to stay. I had a dream last night but then I forgot what was it about.

Curator Boris Kostadinov

Full interview in AQ Magazine

Sonia Gil
Mother´s Milk dystopia, 2020
a collaboration with the Brazilian photographer Ricardo Bhering
My series of works called Mother´s Milk is about motherhood and identity, about nurturing and being nurtured. My daughter´s image becomes a digital sculpture offering multi-layered images and emotions.
 
I have mixed feelings about quarantine times, we are living a dystopia, I feel like being trapped inside walls, small spaces for big dreams. Yet there is light coming in. The world will be forever changed from this surreal experience and I hope we can transform and re-invent our lives.
 
Maria Varela
StayAtHome
In this experience of Covid 19 quarantine, time takes on a completely different meaning and the experience of it becomes intense. Weaving is the process by which time becomes tangible, transformed and transcribed into material. This new temporality we are experiencing is directly dependent on the statistics of confirmed cases daily communicated to us and this is how we perceive time and its passage.
 
I am weaving this timeline everyday, the pattern that is weaved is not simply created by the constant change of the number of patients worldwide but from the emerging narrative of a new perception of the personal and the collective, the local and the global, the creation and momentum of historical events. 
Robert Gabris
CYBERLOVE Party in the isolation
42x29,7cm sketchbook drawings, Colored pencils on paper, 2020
These drawings illustrate various dialogues through sex dating apps during isolation in times of COVID-19. Searching for love or casual fun becomes a strange kind of acceptance of one‘s own nudity, or mutual and superficial touches by sending nude photos. Comic-like dialogues illustrate limitless ideas of everyone involved.
 
The language in chat is reduced to a minimum and the fictional universe of smartphones develops a new coding through routinely learned shortenings, such as listing sex preferences and finding the right person. This coding appears strange when we look at it again, as if we were going backwards intellectually. With these drawings I address the phenomenon „how to delete yourself”and museumize a collection of selfishness, loneliness and a life in isolation. 

Continue to Part II of the exhibition

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