Antonio Wehrli - Law of Corona - Part 2
A big thank you to all the readers of this blog that have sent me their great replies with in-depth explanations in response to my last blog entry. They were voicing either “That’s an amazing work” or “how can you create this?”.
I didn't expect that the Law of Corona artworks can offend the viewer. Of course, they are strong statements. But more importantly they are questions!
Important is that we have a dialogue and that we can voice our opinions. It might take years until we really understand what happened this year and maybe we will never really know or agree on many of this disaster’s aspects.
The work I am creating on right now is called “Freedom of Speech – censored” or “Freedom of Speech – censored by Political Correctness”. I will most likely choose the version with fewer letters as it leaves more room for interpretation.
Unfortunately, a lot of opinions, fairly well documented and explained opinions, were censored during the COVID-19 outbreak. Also on youtube, vimeo or facebook more stories got deleted than ever before and even entire accounts wiped out. Political correctness became the main reason to censor any other thought than the one propagated by mainstream physicians and media. Any other view was deemed unacceptable and dangerous and in some cases, high profile doctors even lost their job for having and voicing a different, well-documented opinion. There was no discussion among a large group of specialists on what to do. Instead a handful of virologists decided the fate of the countries. With the media pushing the fear, anyone who voiced a different look at things got marginalized - fact-checked without proof, just by statements according to the mainstream view - and ridiculed.
This leads to this work: “Outbreak”
Visually the books themselves are spreading like the virus out into the world. With its spreading, the information of it and the implications with it, sickness and death extend to the far reaches.
But what is fake? What is real?
The serenity, with which the virus was treated in the West during the first few weeks and even months, seemed as if no one believed the danger. The media nevertheless spread fear with every new number of infections in China. 100 people, 1000 people. The panic was broadcasted but it was on the other side of the world, far away – seemingly harmless.
Suddenly, several hundred people died in Bergamo, Italy and therefore the propagated danger became real and measures had to be taken to insure that the spread is stopped. Security concepts were cobbled together as quickly as possible and implemented within the shortest possible time. The lockdown worked in China - therefore Europe and later the US tried to do the same - but only after a majority of people had been exposed to the virus and started to show symptoms. Or did politicians wait for a bigger infection rate to achieve the spreading of more fear? To make sure that the majority would agree on the lockdowns? I think the West just never expected to be hit as hard or even harder than China.
We know what then followed: a lot of fake news and of course also some real news. The fake news were portrayed as being real news while the real news were being branded as fake news - or maybe not? No matter, in the end, no one really knew, what’s real and what’s fake. Most just accepted and believed mainstream media, hid away and concealed in fear. Others started to ponder and to research.
In the artwork, fake and real do not just stay for those two words of course but for true and false, right and wrong, etc.
During an outbreak a lot can go wrong, including fake news, false decisions, half-true statements, doubtable extrapolation, wrong conclusions and implementations.
Originally I had planned to just write “FAKE” onto the books. But holding a Swiss law book with “FAKE” in my hand, I felt like a heretic and I had to spray some “REAL” as well. Of course many things were done bravely and correctly.
Even now with the COVID-19-reserved hospital beds in Europe getting empty, the newly tested positive are reported daily although this number has nothing to do with people dying or needing intensive medical care. Only very few places ever got truly overwhelmed by sick people. All the same, the next “lockdown” is still around the corner. This reporting is not really fake news but it evokes a feeling of fear that would not be evoked by focusing on the important element of how many emergency beds are free. This could be called true news.
Even the white lettering breaks out:
For the right reasons, our governments decided on the wrong solutions.
Freedom and law were canceled.
"LAW – canceled" - 97cm x 114cm - Spray on Law Books on Wood - 2020
A lawyer in Germany who tried to sue the government for an unjust lockdown was put in the madhouse. People that kept vigil against the emergency law were fined violating the ban on demonstrations even though they kept social distance and were sitting on the floor alone. Very strange things happened because of Corona.
The next work is “There is no solidarity in Möhlin” - 111cm x 95cm - Spray on Law Books on Wood - 2020
This work is a very personal one:
“Möhlin” stands for all the places or people that show no solidarity in a moment of crisis. Not just the first thoughts are about their own security and needs, but the second and third one too. It stands for people who don't feel secure, even though they have all they need. Out of this insecurity, they cannot offer a helping hand.
Why did I chose the name of the village Möhlin to picture this unsolidar person or place?
When China decided to close its border to all non-Chinese citizens on March 28, announced on March 26, we had to start searching for a long(er) term living place. Rental start ideally from April 1, just five days later. There were not a lot of apartments or houses on the market that fit our criteria of not too expensive and fairly big. In Möhlin, I found a huge house - an old farmhouse that is planned to be destroyed in 2 years. For this limited time of renting, they offered a good deal. I went to see the house. It had a huge barn attached that would have been perfect for my studio, enough rooms for the whole family, two small guest rooms, a nice living room with chimney and a huge plot of land. I explained our situation in Switzerland and why the house would be perfect for us and the broker gave me the feeling that we would get the house. As an artist, I could not give a proof of regular income nor did I have the official non-criminal-record document, but I offered two reputable references instead. I was made believe that because of my special situation, I will get the house, but when I called after two days of silence, I was informed that they decided to give the house to a couple. They decided to rent this huge house to a couple with safe income instead of renting it to a stranded family.
I was very disappointed.
Looking back, it was great that we did not get that house because the location would not have been half as beautiful as the mountain area where we live now. People here in Glarus are easy going and welcoming and nature is wonderful.
This deer passed my way on my last mountain hike:
A view from the mountain rim on cows on Mettmenalp and Garichti reservoir:
I hope there will be no 2nd lockdowns. Social distancing would be an easy and a non-harmful solution. Risk groups would have to decide on their own if they want to stay at home or not.
Old and young should have the freedom to live and die as they please, not by governmental decree. Exceptions would apply when medical care is about to be overwhelmed, but this should be monitored closely. Further lockdowns will destroy the lives of even more people. We cannot just keep hiding. This will prolong the crisis endlessly.
I hope we can soon travel again and get to a more normal life like before. Statistics do show that even with all those many COVID deaths reported, the total death rate is still within the normal total death fluctuations from year to year (with a very few hot-spot exceptions where hospitals were overwhelmed - but even these hot-spots could get averaged out over the course of the year.) Sadly, it will get worse this year because of malnutrition. Unfortunately, that’s irreversible. I am shocked that people and governments sponsor billions for the research of a vaccine but they neglect the millions of people that suffer one of the most horrid death imaginable - starvation.
I hope to start creating Centrifugal works again soon - creating beauty brings happiness and helps build a better world - or at least the illusion of it.
But I must create some more works of “Law of Corona”. It’s an important message and I am surprised on how few critical Corona artworks are being done.
If you like the work “Corona tried to kill Democracy”, I have good news:
I created and am still creating a limited edition of it. I spray colors and then the lettering onto Swiss Federal Court Decision books concerning state law. I did not think about doing a limited edition when I started the artworks and therefore some of the release years have been used on the big artworks already and are not available for the limited edition. I still have enough books for an edition of 50. Of course each book will be different by coloring and slightly different by lettering.
I plan to release them at CHF 699 after having exhibited the original work of 261cm x 321cm. For the first 10 readers replying to this blog post, who want to get a book, I will offer it at a special “Corona-discounted” pre-release-price of CHF 299 excl. shipping. You can even choose your favorite book year if available. I will be happy to send you your individually created limited edition book artwork. (This special price is available for sprayed books released in the years from 1910 to 1958 and 1973 to 1975 with exceptions. Only applicable to the first 10 replies. A reply does not guarantee a purchase. All rights reserved).
That’s your chance to get a piece of my view on current history sprayed on a book of documented legal history.
A book that looks as good on a wall as displayed in a book shelf.
Stay safe and healthy!
All the best,