Tuesday, May 18

Does anyone want a vase shaped like a virus? Why Covid is a muse for today’s artists | Art

Lee Cartledge, a potter in North Yorkshire, has spent a large part of the confinement making vases in the shape of the Covid-19 virus.

He got the idea in February of last year, after seeing the shape on the news. “They kept coming up with this glorious image of this bloody virus that, in my opinion, asked to be made in clay,” he says.

The limited edition Covid-19 vase is priced at £ 90, with £ 10 from each sale going to charities helping people affected by the pandemic. So far, Cartledge has sold 107 vases. Doctors and nurses bought it as a souvenir, he says, and a person who lost a close friend to the virus bought three: one for himself, one to donate to the hospital where his friend died, and another to take with him at a fundraiser. . Motorcycle tour.

It’s part of a wave of art inspired by the pandemic, some of which are selling for thousands of pounds. An online art gallery, Singulart, features collections of Covid-inspired art, with 300 pieces by artists from around the world priced up to £ 21,190. Co-founder Véra Kempf says they originally received 1,500 Covid-inspired artworks from professional artists.

Robert Süess, a Swiss artist featured on the site, has produced a series of 24 pieces, of which he has sold around 14 to friends and clients, mainly in Germany and Switzerland. One piece sold for £ 418 to a buyer in Saudi Arabia, he says.

While Cartledge and Süess have received mostly positive feedback for their work, some people have reacted negatively to them by using the virus, which has caused so much misery and death, for personal gain.

Illustration of hands weaving
‘With these hands’ by Beth Wilks.

Süess says: “At first, some fellow artists asked me why I was making art in this situation. What is the problem? I’m an artist. I can’t do exhibitions, I can’t give lessons, everything is closed. I have to do something.”

Cartledge admits that in hindsight he might not have made the Covid-19 vase. “I was a little worried about making a large-scale version of the virus that would possibly kill many of us. It seemed crazy to me to do when the NHS was invaded, and I was sitting in a pottery in North Yorkshire deleting versions of what everyone was fighting for. “But he adds:” It’s just art. He will surely create objects that reflect time in the found, and that’s all he was doing. “

Banksy, an artist known for his street art, produced a tribute to the NHS with a boy dressed in overalls playing with a superhero nurse toy. He also created a piece on a London subway train that shows a series of rats in pandemic-inspired poses, wearing masks and spraying antibacterial gel.

Photographers have also been inspired by the crisis. Joanna Vestey has created a series of portraits of renowned actors, artists and writers wearing masks to raise money for AT The bus, a charity that supports children and youth.

Naz Syed, a Newport-based artist, received funding from the Arts Council of Wales and has collected more than 100 works from people of all ages and abilities in her local community. In late March, a digital film from the Lost Connections series will be released, the Riverfront Theater will display the artwork in its windows and online, and in July there will be an exhibition at the Llantarnam Grange Arts center.

The Royal Academy of Arts will soon open submissions for the 2021 Summer Exhibition. The exhibition, the world’s largest open-stage contemporary art show, will be comprised of works created over the course of the past year which, according to a spokesperson, they likely closely reflect the experiences of professional and amateur artists from Covid and the confinement. .


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