Arts Illustrated

June 6, 2020

The Covid Art Museum

One more example of how even the worst of global crises can inspire fantastic expressions of human creativity

Poonam Ganglani

An arresting piece in The Covid Art Museum opens with a visual of a quaint living room, an unassuming plant in one corner and an imposing window frame on the other. Without warning, twenty-two human dummies begin to drop from the ceiling above, one by one in rhythmic succession, piling up like corpses on the sofa in the centre of the room. It’s an uncomfortable clip to watch, but it powerfully drives home the pervasive presence and nature of death during the pandemic – cruel but almost mundane.

Launched on Instagram by three Barcelona-based advertising professionals in March, the virtual museum brings together artworks born during the Covid-19 quarantine. From paintings and illustrations to photographs and motion graphics, the artworks, mostly from European contributors, interpret the bizarre new realities of our times and the range of emotions they evoke universally.

A particular one that stuck in my mind is a composition by @n_o_c, which shows a human arm limply stretched upon a crumpled white bed sheet, fitted with a battery compartment – a clever portrayal of the heavy and mechanical pace of life that sets in during confinement. There’s also a photo series by @tomlefrench that shows a ringing smartphone, waiting to be answered: one call is from ‘Claus Trophobia’ and another from ‘Apo Calypse’, conveying perhaps the sense of urgency and foreboding brought about by the pandemic.

Toilet paper, the omnipresent face mask and social distancing are some of the themes that receive more playful artistic treatment. In one series, @vlekuona presents a new collection of ‘Social Distance Jewellery’ – pieces of jewellery affixed to garlic cloves. The collection is called Spanish Breath: Keep yourself safe from others with stinky earrings.


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