February 18 - October 17

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Guy Aon

The exhibition captures the artistic frame of mind in times of plague and crisis, and describes how the world is shaped by the new reality. The role of art in periods of this kind is to give hope while providing social critique, to evoke imagination, to raise pointed questions about moral issues and to suggest creative ways of dealing with them.


The name of the exhibition presents an extreme but non-judgmental situation, and gives rise to interesting scrutiny in the face of challenges and conclusions, both positive and destructive, demonstrating that the spirit of art is boundless and unlimited. Our contention is to learn to live side by side, in parallel with, despite it, and see ways to rise to the occasion. Unlike a war, in which there is always a winner and a loser and all resources are mobilized for victory, a plague has no enemy or one result and victory is measured by our ability to survive and our positive attitude.
"The plague affects us all. All are undermined – whether workers, businessmen or creators," the curator explains. "During the Corona Crisis, artists could not physically express themselves through their artwork. They were immensely challenged as they needed to explore and experiment with new ways of creating the intimacy of personal touch that was missing."


An epidemic is an immediate threat and an invisible danger that causes existential panic, it undermines our sense of security and forces us to deal with crises in various arenas – personal, familial, social, cultural, environmental, political and such. The art in the exhibition reviews, and even undertakes to define, the new reality born of epidemics, at the individual and group level. The works in the exhibition illustrate the enormous crisis and emphasize issues such as health and illness, closeness and distance, fears and hopes. In a time of crisis, when interpersonal dialogue falters, the socio-intellectual discourse presented in art is needed more than ever.
The exhibition is an opportunity to look at epidemics both in retrospect and in the future. Historically, epidemics have led to sickness and death, but also to change and progress. Epidemics pay close attention to the social vacuum, which of course leads to a cultural and artistic vacuum. But in a plague, as in war, beneath the surface there is a life that is born out of the void. Bereft of another possibility, we learn to communicate in new ways, and art promises us a revival from an exploratory perspective into a new and different future.


As in war, a plague can be harrowing and tragic. But while wars create a deep sense of belonging and willpower, epidemics tend to intensify socio-cultural clashes. Moreover, art enlists in the service of war, it is even assimilated into the role of "official martial artist" that contributes to unity and morale. Can there be an "official epidemic artist"?


The exhibition touches on a number of topics that concern us all: communication, body, space, consumerism, politics, change, touch, and fantasy. Through these topics how we handle the new reality that has been dictated to us is examined, and in doing so we touch on how artists represent the associated dilemmas and experiences.

 

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