Insieme - Covid-19 collective exhibition
Updated: Jun 3
This temporary online exhibition is a spontaneous presentation of works from artists currently locked in their premises all over the world.
No theme or specific request has been asked to the artists, as each of us is reacting differently to this situation; some might be productive, some might be afraid, some might be inspired, some might be distant.
By temporarily giving my webpage to these talented artists, my wish is to construct a virtual place for people to engage, meet, or simply share their works.
The whole world is currently facing a new and unexpected situation, the gravity of which may vary according to our geographical location, yet most of us are aware and affected by it.
From my apartment, I hear sirens ringing day and night. This morning, from my window, I saw a fully covered medical stretcher being placed in an ambulance, yet I believe that what I saw was not the victim of war. Luckily, like many other privileged western Europeans, I do not know what war is. From what I have read about wars, one of the first aims of the enemy is to limit or destroy ways of communication. Another important goal is to destroy hospitals, and as far as I can see, we are all working on improving both the means to inform and to cure. If we were at war I would not be able to invite people from all over the world to join this exhibition. Therefore, I would like to think of this situation as a challenge, a world challenge, a challenge that we must face altogether, not individually.
Insieme in Italian means together, but it also means: jointly, whole, ensemble, set.
Italy shows a strong feeling of unity these days. We unite in mourning our losses, but also unite in helping one another. Social distance only applies as a physical term, as the magazines, newspapers, art organisations, book publishers, cultural associations, fashion brands, high-tech companies, telecommunication, and schools are offering support and products to the ones in need. In Milan, every day, groups of volunteers are delivering 8-10 kg packages of free food to families falling into poverty. In Bergamo, other groups of volunteers have built a hospital in seven days. Yet, this crisis is not about Italy. It is not about the UK, China, Germany, Australia, the USA, Russia... it is about the whole world. So, although my door must be closed now, and I can’t let anybody in, I know that outside there are no enemies. My neighbor is not a threat, they are just as fragile as I am in this situation of uncertainty and solitude. This is the spark that has fired up the necessity of organising the exhibition. The need to come together across borders, styles, ages, backgrounds, and beliefs. In this time of social distancing and political uncertainties, this improvised virtual exhibition has no purpose but to share and to unite.
My closest acquaintances, know that the question “what is art?” is something which I enjoy studying, elaborating on, and discussing. Finding a satisfying answer to this question is not an easy task for any audience, as indeed for the artists or the theoreticians. As a consequence, I would like to think that Art exists in a wonderful undefined state. In a similar manner, one can say that art’s purpose is also not clear.
What is Art for?
Up until February 2020, art was serving multiple and sometimes contradictory ends. The wonderful simplicity of new tools and technologies had brought into almost everyone’s pocket the possibility to engage aesthetically with the world. To create and to share, to visit and to buy, and to like or ignore. The so-called artists were already living in conditions of isolation, caged into galleries, confined in academies, or elite events.
Something has already changed.
Recently, I have experienced a far higher need amongst artists and cultural organisations to reach out to each other, and their audience. More than before, art today is managing to unite, to comfort, and support people in this time of crisis. Some of us write, some draw, some film, some paint, some photograph, some dream, some talk, some perform. No matter what we do, we cannot stop. We must be many, because our audience is gigantic, and we must be different because our audience (luckily) is not the same. Yet, we have to be united (insieme), because nobody saves themselves.
A new challenge has come and it is up to us to solve it. We live a difficult time, yet the world was neither easy or fair before, this can be a time to start founding a better future. INSIEME (together).