Photographer Ben Cole’s photo series exploring the potential new wave of art after Covid-19.
Every plague has a silver lining. The infamous Bubonic Plague of the 14th Century inspired a surge of creativity in response to the devastation it caused. With life becoming something so fragile, many searched for solace in art and literature; artists such as Michelangelo, Petrarch and Botticelli emerged in their depictions of trauma, but also in their exploration of the pleasures and beauties of life itself.
This post-plague era encouraged one of the biggest art movements we know of today: the Renaissance. So, if the Renaissance was born in wake of the Bubonic Plague, what will our post-Corona art world look like?
This is something that totally fascinates me. With real human interaction being discouraged due to social distancing, we’re already seeing a much more immersive online response; virtual art shows using live video technology; theatre previewed and released online only; singers and songwriters performing on livestreams… the list goes on.
Over the past few months I’ve been creating a series of portraits inspired by Renaissance compositions, but with a contemporary edge. When I started this series, I wanted to document and provide a platform for figures in my life who inspired me, but presenting them within a Renaissance-like framework. With my images, I wanted to question gender norms and expectations whilst playing with unexpected textures and imagery.
I hope that these images go some way in addressing the array of questions gripping the creative industries during this time. When we enter the period following our current pandemic, what new forms of artwork will begin to sprout, and how this will inspire years of work to come? Will we see a growth in independent projects with less reliance on cultural institutions? In wake of the current pandemic we are reminded of the constructs that exist within society. As we are asked to step outside our comfort zones, I can’t help but wonder: will a post-pandemic world possess more freedom and fluidity?