The news has been flip over with the rapidly spreading Covid-19 virus. Galleries are forced to cancel their exhibitions and close their spaces to the public and wall projects already commissioned are postponed indefinitely. The art business stands still and the society is hoarding toilet paper and stocks. The common interest in art seems to consist purely in consumption of free content by artists of all genres on social media platforms. Everyone involved in culture is already aware at the beginning of the crisis about the dramatic depths to which the entire culture industry will fall.
Nothing is the same anymore. Who is going to buy art in times of unavoidable stagnancy? It’s noticeable that many artists are taking the threatening situation with composure. „I am used to handle situations of crisis and the unpredictability of my income. Since I usually work alone in my studio, the ban on going out doesn’t stress me that much. It’s okay for my work, but I’d better not think too much about how long it will take before my artworks can finally be shown in public again…“ says Julia Benz.
Instead of going to the studio in the morning, during the lockdown, she worked in the „home office“. And despite the danger in the air, Julia Benz does not stop speaking her language: the language of art. She runs a visual diary in which she completed a small-format paper work every day, which is titled with the respective shutdown day. The small paintings seem to count the slowly creeping days like lines on the wall and they are at the same time Julia’s encouraging words of hope to breath and to meet up again.
It is uncertain what the culture expects in the coming months or even years. Certain is that the arts in all their different forms are urgently needed for mental reconstruction.
Photos by Martin Pötter