Exclusive Interview during the Covid-19 lockdown
So, this is the lockdown. Social Distancing. Alone or with your partner, family or pet. We asked artists who were featured in KROMA’s covers*, to speak about it. We asked them if fear can inspire art. On being alone with their art and if this co-habitation is productive. About things from their routine that were and still are important. What do they see coming ahead? If they had the opportunity to share their stay in the same place with an artist, who would they like him/her to be and what would their days together be like? Which soundtrack best describes their Spring in the city? Do they have a message to the world through their art? They give us book recommendations. They answer on Museums and galleries being closed. Is Art ever homeless?
This social distancing we are facing matches perfectly the characters on my canvas – detached in their inner world.
Traditionally, art is inspired by sentiments – fear included. They are the spark of creativity and artists transform them. As artists, we are well acquainted with crises, existential ones mainly, but what we face now is totally different. There comes a pandemic which literally decimates human lives and puts the biggest economies worldwide in stand by. Αrt exhibitions, projects, trips, residencies disappear and our activities diminish dramatically for at least two months. As a consequence, artists become more fragile than ever before.
Visual artists love to create without being watched. What we’re looking for is privacy and thus isolation is not a constraint. It’s one of the smoothest periods of my life. When I’m in the studio I feel serene. No distractions, no deadlines just a halt, during which painting still goes on the same way spring goes on out there. This social distancing we are facing matches perfectly the characters on my canvas – detached in their inner world. After all, what I’m always trying to achieve with my paintings is to stage the reading of the human state.
Basics remain unchanged. I spend The first half of my day in my studio as usual. I still work out daily for 30’ doing barre sculpt. I was lucky enough to find online the same training programme I used in London. Things at home are very pleasant. We have a great time with my son. We laugh a lot, we even try new recipes – something he always loved and I always hated because I was incredibly bored! WhatsApp, FaceTime, Houseparty allow me to keep in touch with my mother and friends. This hardship is universal, there is no loneliness in that.
In two months’ time, the world of art will be facing great challenges. Greek artists faced a relatively similar experience during the crisis these last years. Only this time things are somewhat different: during the crisis, leaving for another country was an option. Nowadays, art is a victim of an across-the-board attack. How can a market strongly based on gatherings around unique works of art adapt to a state where public assemblage is either prohibited or not recommended? And even if it could successfully face the non-inevitable changes to come, what will it matter if the economy will be in a shock?
Manet would be a perfect company for me if i could chose someone to share my studio. Our studio would be full of naked models and dοzens of tubes of pure black. In the morning, we would be complaining about COVID-19 and syphilis respectively over a cup of tea. Then, each retired to his corner, we would be absorbed portraying our characters’ state of mind. Later on, just a small break for a Dejeuner sur l’ herbe (Luncheon on the grass) till the end of the day finds us in bars and parties (treasured by both) gossiping about Salon’s and Frieze’s scandals.
Interview: Dora Mastora, English Translation: Maria Tsaousi, Proof Reading: Dimitra Kalabaka