Keane – The OXO Gallery Covid-19 paintings – v 3.0

Keane – The OXO Gallery Covid-19 paintings

This work starts life 16 years ago after a dozen large school maps thrown out by the local school were then rescued, renovated, re-stretched on canvas and added to a rigid structure. (article with more images here)

The original idea was to work on the idea that maps are not objective, neutral graphic representations that endeavour to reflect the real world as accurately as possible. Instead, cartography is governed by rules that are scarcely questioned. Formalisms such as simplifying, distorting, secrecy, centralising and hierarchising have always been determining factors in cartographic praxis.

The work changed drastically when maps started to appear on daily newspapers and on the Internet pointing out just where the viruses were now affecting which countries.

Where as before maps were hardly ever seen now they became a daily insert to all the media – maps became important.

After that the work changed again when numbers became important.
We became almost drunk with a daily hit of infection numbers coming in from around the world to the point where they no longer had any real meaning. They just became a number but each number represented her family in difficulty.

The work then moved on to include masks as the wearing of masks or the not wearing masks became a daily conversation subject.
The seemingly impossibile happened where wearing a mask or not wearing a mask became a political decision.
Suddenly everyone became virus experts and everybody had strong well informed and deeply held opinions.

The Barga Social Distancing Project is actually divided into two separate parts – one is a photography project, the second ia a painting and drawing project.

Social distancing also called physical distancing, is a set of non-pharmaceutical interventions or measures taken to prevent the spread of a contagious disease by maintaining a physical distance between people and reducing the number of times people come into close contact with each other.

Here in this part of Europe, the “social distance” was set at 1 metre, in other parts of Europe it was double but here everybody talked about 1 metre and so a 1 metro cube with LED lighting was used and people were photographed inside the LED cube wearing a mask.
Nearly 500 people who collaborated in the project over the space of six months were told that they could do whatever they liked inside the cube, it was their safe space.

The final product for this project would probably be will probably be one single printed book of the images which will be kept in a closed glass case where people will not be able to leaf through the book – an annoying but some how ironic final product.

The glass case can then be open in the future at a more fitting time


All 400 plus images from the Barga Social Distancing Project can be seen here