Distress, anger, frustration, but also hope – these are the collective feelings expressed in a new group exhibition at the Everyday Gallery in Antwerp this month. 'Limbo' is a show that takes a closer look at how artists are responding to the events of 2020.
It's also an attempt to capture the "ambience of transience and uncertainty" that has characterised the year so far. "For better or for worse, we are living through what may well become one of the defining moments of the twenty-first century," says Bram Ieven, of the exhibition.
"This much we know. What we do not know, is which turn current events will take. Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter may catapult the world in further turmoil, accelerating the global ecological catastrophe and fuelling further outbursts of systemic racism. But they may also prove to be a political and ecological turning point, an ultimate wake up call leading to racial justice as well as climate justice."
The uncertainty and urge for change have been translated into new works by artists such as Rebecca Brodskis and her oil on linen painting, Chassé-croisé II, which translates as 'crossover' and perhaps reflects on globalisation, colonialism, and her own childhood living between France and Morocco. There's a new series by Iranian visual artist Mahsa Merci, focusing on portraits of the LGBT+ community and challenging the meaning of gender, identity and beauty.
Aside from the political unrest and turmoil translated in Nicolas Holiber's Freedom Fighters and Live Free or Die paintings, highlighting protests and police brutality in America, elsewhere, we see a calmer artistic response with hints of quiet lockdown life through Victor Delestre's latest still life paintings.
Bram Leven adds: "If the events of the past six months have made anything clear, it is how fragile human society and human lives can be. Limbo is a first attempt to come to terms with this fact without claiming to have any answers. It shows us a world on the threshold of something new, but still struggling with the old. We do not know yet where this is going, or what will become of it. We are waiting for something that is taking its course."