Talk Slow

Brave new world – How will art look like after COVID-19? An Interview with artist Judit Flóra Schuller

How does the corona virus pandemic effect your artistic practice and your daily life?

In addition to the Slow Life exhibition, I was invited to participate in an exhibition dedicated to Pesach at 2B Gallery organized by László Böröcz, which would have opened on the same day, April 8th. As there was no way to postpone the exhibition due to its theme, unfortunately it was cancelled. And in the first half of May, I was to take part in a two-week residency program at the Balassi Institute in Rome, which I received as part of the MODEM award I won in the autumn of 2018. Unfortunately, last year I couldn’t go, and I won’t be able to leave this year either. I hope that in autumn I will be able to make up for it. To earn a living, I work in a museum, so a lot of everyday work is being reorganized now. I am fortunate not to work as a freelancer at the moment and to have received the Derkovits Scholarship this year. However, beyond everyday security of existence, this uncertainty is obviously worrying. I feel it basically harder to concentrate, since my mind is busy all the time, and I’m worried about my family – my parents working in healthcare – and people in general. Meanwhile we’re flooded with a huge wave of information, despite the confinement, there are a lot of online stimuli. It is more difficult for me to think about new works now, to slow down to be able to pick up the threads, but in the long run, something new may emerge from these wandering thoughts and feelings. On the level of everyday life, however, I managed to create an intimate bubble, which I really enjoy. My appointment book has never been so empty, while a lot of internal processes are going on inside me right now.

Do you think you will have a different attitude to life and art when this crisis is over?

This is hard to predict on the basis of the current situation. I basically think that yes, many things will change for a good while. It’s hard to say how long it will take for things to get back to their pre-corona virus state. Considering previous collective changes and traumas, normalcy may return to our lives relatively soon on a daily basis, but we will need more time and distance to reflect on what happened.

In what way do you think this virus has fundamentally changed our lives or has it changed it at all? What can we learn from it?

I wouldn’t like to make “big” statements about this. A lot has changed and is changing now around us over the last few months. No one can get away from this, everyone experiences it on a private level, but from now on it is inevitable that we, as individuals, will concern about the bigger whole. Our currently reduced living space and activity is likely to lead many people to a more minimalist lifestyle.

Do you think that art has the means to effect social changes? And if so, then in what ways?

Art has always reflected on life. Whether this reflection is provocative, loud, far-reaching, critical, or just “quiet”, it depends on the artist, the work accomplished, and the medium or channel of mediation. When something is so close to us in time and, in this case, physically, too, I always find it difficult to approach it through art – even as a viewer. I think this in many cases takes some time and distance.

Schuller Judit Flóra: Towards Nothingness (Walks), részlet a Memory Theatre sorozatból / from the series Memory Theatre, 2017.
Fotó/Photo: Bíró Dávid

Judit Flóra Schuller is one of the artists taking part in our exhibition. More about her here.