It would take a new Munch

We Are Looking for an Art Capable to Tell Our Nerve-racking Outliving During Covid

It would take the scream of a new Munch to depict the exact meaning of what the year that has just been passed meant, not only for describing this society who’s not accustomed to face big collective difficulties, that in many ways are worse than the great wars of the twentieth century, where death showed up with a well-defined face and voice in its destructiveness; it was emphatically depicted on canvas and marbles and the poets summarized it with a visionary “ It’s like being – In the Autumn – On the trees – The leaves”. It’s a summary that is excellent for describing the current situation brought in by Covid-19. However, between Munch’s scream and the leaves in Ungaretti’s poem there’s a deep existential difference. In the poet’s masterpiece there’s a bitter acknowledgement: death is in the air, you can feel it coming while petrified in a bewildered expectation, in some ways almost resigned, and you can see it making damages to creatures, friends and objects of the daily life. Munch’s creature instead, almost universal, runs away from something invisible, elusive, and releases in its scream the terror of a racking desperation. Maybe it moves towards a sort of salvation, leaving behind its back a century full of horrors, almost ignored by young people but crystalized in thousands writings and artworks of all kind.

It speaks to us with an absolute strength about an era, reminding us its presence without time. That’s why nowadays it would take a new Munch with a new terrible scream but expressed in a different way, I’d say contemporary, to explain to whom is going to come after us what the obscure, invisible evil did, the one who’s torturing us physically and psychically, an art who’s capable to depict all this nerve-racking outliving. This age full of empty words, political and medical disorganization, in which we lost our sacred side for finding shelter in a profane one. A scream capable to describe a death without face and voice, a death that seems to be bound to permanently move away from the past. We need to renew ourselves, to go beyond the present while protecting its memory, as figurative art has done for centuries. Where is this new art, has it already been taken in consideration and is it still in the making? The critics, experts of what comes after, can’t tell anything yet, but that’s not a news, when did they ever mark the way? They thought Basquiat & company were absolutely not to set foot within a gallery. Montale was not to be printed. Nowadays, about the both of them, very belatedly, they write enthusiastic pieces.

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