In Tristan Pigott's latest series, Behind Tired Eyes, the London-based artist captures the mood of a "lost generation" of young people, struggling to find their place in the world at a time when life feels, weird, warped and full of uncertainty.
Created during the months of lockdown, the paintings draw on the current atmosphere surrounding Covid-19, the high cost of living and lack of job security, coupled with Brexit and diminishing state support, leaving much of his generation battling a perfect storm.
The series, which goes on show at Soho gallery Alice Black next month, also presents the break in the system, created by the global pandemic, as an opportunity to hit refresh and reimagine a new world order. It draws on themes ranging from the changing nature of human interaction, technological overload, ecological crisis and the power of art history in reflecting human development.
"Over lockdown, we suddenly found ourselves in a position where all our human interaction was conducted through screens," Tristan says. "In this exhibition, I have used the central symbol of a fence to reflect on this climate of diminished face to face contact and shine a spotlight on our straddled position between the real and virtual – a place we find ourselves increasingly stuck."
Behind Tired Eyes is Tristan's second solo exhibition at the London gallery. Co-founder Alice Black remarks: "Tristan's work reasserts the place of painting in our digitally dominant world. It references Old Masters, juxtapositioned with allusions to GPS, google maps, drones and satellites. In the era of Zoom calls, 24hr newsreels, and infinite social media scrolling, it shows the importance of art as a real, tangible return to reality which, like human contact, is best experienced in the flesh. We are happy to be working with Tristan on this show, he is undoubtedly one of the great talents of his generation."
Behind Tired Eyes will run from 8 October until 18 November 2020 at 81a Endell Street in London's Covent Garden, WC2H 9DX. This is a temporary space for Alice Black while the gallery relocates to permanent Soho premises.