During during the COVID-19 pandemic,ten international artists have been invited by Schoeni Projects in collaboration with HK Walls to create site specific installations inside a Victorian house in South London for ‘disCONNECT’. The exhibition reflects on the creative and physical constraints of the current global crisis, exploring psychological and political reactions to the crisis, as well as the role of technology as conduit between the two.
We reached out to Iranian born, London based artist Aida Wilde for more information on her installations.
Her iconic pink dotted wallpaper has gone literally viral, morphing into a Covid-19 virus shape. Slogans on the walls mention ‘99% ARE IN THIS TOGETHER’, ‘STAY THE FUCK AT HOME’ with an hug Emoji wearing a Burberry hat and a LV protective mask (a reference to luxury brands announcing that they would produce non surgical masks and protective equipment for frontline workers).
She transformed one of the house’s toilets as a ‘Pandemic Mausoleum’ with her signature text works on wallpaper, floor lino with slogans sharing reactions to the pandemic.
The ‘Pandemic Mausoleum’ is adorned with a site-specific wallpaper, based around a traditional 16th century Damask fabric. Patterns include Emoji’s that tells the capsule story of the pandemic (covid-19) with elements ranging from bats (which many believe was the source of the virus) to masked toilet roll hugging head, palm trees, joggers, rainbows, a house in lockdown, post boxes and not forgetting clapping hands ‘for our heroes”. The lino floor has been covered with ‘FEAR LESS / LESS FEAR’
Surrounded by everyday objects which have become totemic of the contemporary climate – toilet roll tubes donated by neighbours, discarded objects from “lock-down” spring cleaning and bottles of bleach sourced locally from the independent manufacturer Zamo – the works are presented alongside hazard tape, demarcating ‘socially distanced’ two metre intervals.
Aida Wilde also created specific paraphernalia: ‘Covid 19 Germ Warfare’ Tshirt and face masks are an ode to Keith Haring’s 1987 “Aids Is Political- Biological Social (Germ) Warfare” slogans. Various comparisons/similarities can be made between the two epidemics in terms of the hysteria attached to it, who and what is targeted (specific demographics/ race/ gender) eg. Black Men are 4 times more likely to get Covid 19 and more men have contracted the virus than women. The T-shirt is displayed inside a vacuumed sealed bag to further enhance the message of being “Germ Free- Dust Free” that is all illuminated by UV lights to further represent the annihilation of even more germs.
Playing with UV light, the viewers can read ‘The powerful are powerless against the invisible’ . Close to the T shirt display, a series of Baskeball caps ‘Make the world covid free again’, are inspired by D. Trump’s infamous red ‘ Make American Great Again’ and his announcement that wearing a hat could protect from the virus.
Curtain lace banners ‘Notes From A Phantom’ display writings/poems and call to action that occurred during the UK lockdown in collaboration with Minneapolis based artist Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski. The two pieces with their gray texts are screen printed onto black lace, reminiscent of traditional face coverings in mourning and are a reference to the unlawful murder of George Floyd in the US and the Black Lives Matter protests that took place subsequently after the killing. They speak about the importance and the power of Stillness and Silence from the maddening world around them.
Aida Wilde also transformed a notice road sign to reflect the ‘Changed priorities Ahead’ since the lockdown has slowed a lot of people down and forced them to reassess their priorities, from the daily exercise to observing nature.
Images courtesy of the artist
DisConnect is on view until 24 August 2020. The exhibition is also accessible to online audiences, where each work is further activated through an accompanying programme of digital initiatives, including downloadable art works, online videos, virtual tours and an Instagram Live interview series.
Full list of participating artists include : Adam Neate (UK); Aida Wilde (Iran); Alex Fakso (Italy); Mr.Cenz (UK); David Bray (UK), Herakut (Germany); Icy and Sot (Iran); Isaac Cordal (Spain); Vhils (Portugal); ZOER (Italy).
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