WE CANNOT CONFINE ART
Often attributed to Jacques Prévert, the phrase “You can tell happiness by the sound it makes when it’s gone” adequately illustrates the feeling we all have, since the sanitary situation has imposed constraints on us for almost a year. No more cafés, no more restaurants, no more shows and – almost – no more exhibtions. Galleries are somehow continuing their activities by receiving visitors on reservation and in open spaces such as the Rodin’s Museum Garden of Sculptures, which is receiving visitors. But the world of graphic arts has obviously been very impacted. The public authorities have established an emergency plan of nearly 4 million Euros, which is unfortunately not enough, to support cash flow and grant aid to artists.
Yet, even – and perhaps especially – in these difficult times, artwork remains abundant. Damien Hirst has created a rainbow of butterflies in support of British care providers, a digital artwork that is freely accessible on the Internet and which the artist invites people to print out and hang on their windows. Bansky has “stenciled” his bathroom walls with unruly rats, an artwork ironically titled ‘My wife hates it when I work from home’. While in confinement in Normandy, David Hockney painted the arrival of spring on his iPad. He named one of his works ‘Do remember they can’t cancel the Spring’.
And if we can’t go to it, art comes to us. Like the Rijksmuseum which has put over 700,000 pieces of its
collection online. Of course, seeing the paintings of Vermeer, Rembrandt or Van Dyck on a computer screen or on a smartphone does not compare at all to the real experience. But, as the director of the Dutch institution, Taco Dibbits, says, “Art is essential in the best and worst of times, and especially now, when it shows us how to look closely at our loved ones and our environment, and treat life with more care and attention”.
Gabrielle Gauthier et Christian Charreyre
Editors in Chief