THE CROWN OF THE CORONA

curated by

BORIS KOSTADINOV

Part II

Window and White Wall

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.
Jodie.JPG
JODIEWHN
Blooming Mind in Whirlwind, 2020
Digital collage
An exploratory self-portrait documenting my state of mind under the corona uncertainties.
Embracing abundance of solitude, my mind has taken off to reach the imaginary land with
natural ambience and calm. The spirit is always free, what is a lockdown?
Anaïs Horn
Gagliano del Capo, 2019
From the series „Die Hand voller Stunden, so kamst du zu mir“, Vienna, 2020
When the essence of being –  motion, exchange, sharing – is replaced with retreat, privacy
and distance, movement and interaction become kind of subversive acts, one is thrown into total privacy, intimacy – with no possibility to „escape“.

The private apartment becomes the only „safe“ surrounding, one has to adapt to, while
adapting the environment to new needs: living and working together in a place called
„home“ (which we almost forgot) – the luxury of endless time –  reaches new dimensions
and restriction becomes a chance to look closer and listen more careful to oneself and the people around.
Anais.JPG
Monica Tiulescu
Zooooom, 2020
62"x102" acrylic pen and paint on gesso paper 
As an educator teaching art during the Covid-19 pandemic, I am depicting a specific existence in time and virtual space. My students’ faces exhibit diverse emotions from angst to laughter to exhaustion. They are positioned in locked frames demonstrating a claustrophobic environment. My response is denoted through fragments of text showcasing my emotions.
Monica.JPG
Borjana Ventzislavova
PHOTOGRAPHY, 2012 - ONGOING
C-PRINTS, COLOR, BEHIND DIASEC, 30x45cm, 60X90cm AND 100X150cm
In the landscapes by Borjana Ventzislavova, nature is transformed into a symbol––powerful and impressive without further details. Depicting nostalgic deserts with a lack of human presence bring associations of cataclysm and catastrophe. Neon signs that have, absurdly, remained lit are the only remaining artefacts, replete with obscure and desperate content in Works for Public Space.

Artist Heather Haynes

Advocating Human Rights

Olga Shapovalova
Still Quarantine Life, 2020
Scan
Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? - the thoughts that are always haunted and scared. Personal quarantine is when you are locked in your body and with your head. In the body that you constantly want to change. With the head, and the terrible thoughts from which it is so difficult to drive away, to hide, to get ride of… Double quarantine. Perpetual quarantine - in my body, in my head...
 
In my project, I turn to the classical genre of still life, in particular to the genre of the Baroque era - Vanitas. We cannot see the full body, we only guess the parts, like pain strokes and smear of paints that appear from a black hole of unknown and despair.
Olga.JPG
Raphaele Shirley
100 Pink Smoke Flares (twice), 2019
Video, 3,57 min. 
A series of ephemeral outdoor installations consisting of 100 to 200 smoke flares lit simultaneously, temporarily masking the landscape behind. The ephemeral color mass created upon full ignition of all the flares, marks the appearance and disappearance of natural and urban settings, as they are affected my man’s hand and societal changes.
 
In these installations, Shirley reflects on landscapes in distress, nature’s beauty and timelessness, and general states of emergency in the age of Anthropocene. The fluidity of the work, incorporating the site in which it exists, weather conditions, as well as the audience and its reaction, adds indeterminacy to each intervention, augmenting the tension and poignancy of the experience. Presented here, Raphaele’s installation of the work for the opening of KAI art center in Tallinn, Estonia, September 20, 2019 at 7:21pm.
Vasilena Gankovska
Interview with a virus (after William S. Burroughs), 2006 - 2020A project by Vasilena Gankovska with drawings by Jelena Micić, Miryana Mihailova, Anne
Glassner, Kamen Stoyanov, Emil Kirov, Martin Wimmer
 
In 2006 I was invited to participate in a biennial for contemporary art in Bulgaria. The work I submitted was about a virus called Mr. Martin, one of the characters in Nova Trilogy by William Burroughs, from the 1960s. Back then I asked few friends to make a drawing of Mr. Martin, under the condition that they depict him as a virus. The outcome varied from complex geometric structures up to a portrait of a man. In the present days at the beginning of the new decade we are confronted with a real pandemic and a virus is spreading rapidly. We have a clear image of it, which spreads even faster than the virus itself. Mr. Martin says
that the humans think in “images” and that all our human activities are “prerecorded”. It is like someone cuts and pastes images in our biological film.
Today I asked again some of the artists who contributed in 2006 to make a new drawing or submit the old one and invited some new friends to share their image of Mr. Martin. The drawings from 2020 appear at times of lockdown, quarantine and permanent threat. Unlike the 2006 issue they make a strong statement not only by using abstract ideas and literary
inspirations. The virus is present in 2020 real time, yet no one managed to make an interview.
Dimitar.JPG
Dimitar Solakov
Let Humanity Tip Over. I Need Fewer Priorities, 2020
Six figures, 3d renders
Things are changing as they’ve always had in an endless cycle, and humanity still cannot realise just how fragile it is, where its place in this cycle is. So little of what people think and worry about is meaningful. They cling to the superficial, feeding greed, which grows more and more powerful and reckless. The tower of collective greed must topple. Let humanity tip over. I need fewer priorities.
Fanni Futterknecht
„Wir sind alle Hunde“ is a starting point for a personal think tank initiated during the Covid 19 crisis and its following lockdown in Europe. It reflects on the mouth nose protection as a political metaphor for a society failing in an abundance of consumption, political intentions and words, now doomed to be silenced.
 
Referring to the mask as rhetorical instrument I try to place and submerge different meanings in different urban and social surroundings. How and in which way does the mouse nose protection that became a global symbol for this pandemic, enable us to speak or encourages us not to speak? 
Fanni.JPG
Beste Özcan
Lokahi: wearable body pillow for co-feeling through human interface, 2020
Video, 1 min., 22 sec.
Lokahi is an interactive, wearable, body pillow which lets two users to visualize their own heartbeat through soft, pulsating colored lights. This project underlines the importance of our basic human needs such as social touch, closeness and connectivity with other human beings.
 
Therefore, second version of this project will be based on sharing intimacy remotely through the use of tablet/mobile phone application, since we should keep social distance because of COVID19.
Citron and Lunardi
Compost n.1, 2020
Video, 4 min.
Compost n.1 is a part of an artistic project that combine science, video art and digital sculpting and is inspirited by the studies of Donna Harraway on the concept of Chtulucene: the human compost world characterized by a continuous process of composition and decomposition.
 
In particular, this video shows a panorama populated by symbiotic assemblages, infected surviving and migrant collaborative beings – artificial intelligences biofabricated - that wallow in a liminal environment between natural and artificial, between mineral and organic in which humanity ha reduced itself to a crystalline form.
Daniela Prokopetz
Sixtytwo days, 2020
Film
Sixtytwo days of isolation. Sixtytwo days of quarantine. Sixtytwo days of defining the project GreenCube in which the two artists Karin Czermak and Daniela Prokopetz are starting to explore alternative exhibition spaces. A dialog between art and nature.
Michael Heindl
Spring Will Not Be Televised, 2020
Film, 6:25 min, Vienna
The film recordings for the short film Spring Will Not Be Televised were made in spring 2020 in Vienna. The focus of these recordings is on TV-Sets in private living spaces that are visible from the streets outside. During nightly walks through the city I aimed to find as many of these TV-Sets as possible and to film the programs that were televised. In the cutting process I later tried to form a narrative out of the collected footage in a very free and associative way. The result, rather automatically than intended, turned into a media-based portrait of our present-day world. 

Curator Boris Kostadinov

Full interview in AQ Magazine

Michail Michailov
Just Keep On Dancing, 2016
Even before Covid-19 , Michailov wore the white protective overall in many of his works. In the video Just Keep on Dancing he transformed it to isolate himself and connect with another person so that they could dance. The video contains critical aspects when thinking about the future, which somehow became true in the last weeks...
Olivier Hölzl
Day 18 / Distance/ 2020
Video, 0,51 min.
Performer: Hans Ahnert, Georgij Melnikov / strange days at home quarantine 
To cope with the global crisis the space is reduced to a minimum called home quarantine. The video diary is based on the objects of that limited space which is a surrealistic answer to a surrealistic state. New words that suddenly appeared are being used and the data found on the computer and in the world wide web is put in a contemporary context. Be safe!
Yuyen Lin-Woywod
Tap Tap, 2015
Video, 1 min. 40 sec. 
The image of a women tapping her thigh while watching cooking TV show at home.
What seems like an auto-aggression at first sight is actually a massage technique to support loosing weight. 
 
During COVID-19 time, are you doing the same routing like the women on this image?  
The loop of this simple and rhythmic movement shows how repetitive information leads us to behavior that seems outright contradictory. 
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Back to Part I of the exhibition

Gert Resinger
Bumm, 2019
170x225x8cm, wood, painted
My work expandet from painting to sculpture - to furniture and design. I often use spontaneous ideas to cut forms and use leftover materials and objects to become something new, like a rap-phrase or a joke its all about pushing thoughts forward.

The work Bumm just happened out of leftovers from a bed i used the cutouts also in the work. For me they are mostly the parts that define the work. It is a metaphor for something that explodes and become a new thing. A moment of destruction that opens the path for a new thing, a new piece, a new feeling.
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Smaragda Nitsopoulou
Video, 2 min. 03 sec. 
As the entire world was getting subsequently locked in, all the images that flooded the internet were those of houses and families. Kind of unintentional, global home movies. The loneliness and exclusion of the immigrants, the mundane everyday moments of Mekas' work looked quite similar to the seclusion the world was forced to during the pandemic.
 
Working with found footage for over 5 years, the idea for the series popped organically to my head. Just like my everyday life was filled with images disrupted by news and images again, the videos series are a collection of footage bonded together with thoughts on fear, the future, art, and loneliness. 

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