Art of Change 21 – How are you feeling and coping with the coronavirus crisis?
Jérémy Gobé – Like a brutal stop. Before the confinement arrived, I had 5 scheduled exhibitions, I was stressed and overworked. I realize that this race is a form of precariousness, which prevents taking breaks, assessments, and it is all the more intense for young artists like me who have no financial visibility and no gallery. Running and acting in the short term is toxic. This forced stop allows you to think long term. I’m trying to live this crisis as a healthy break, to become a better artist, to reorganize my life and my work.
I’m also trying to put financial stress in the background. Fortunately, in the short term, there are solidarity solutions, like Les amis des artistes, where I offered works at advantageous prices.
« What place can art have in an emergency? »
AOC21 – Do you think the current crisis will change contemporary art?
J.G. – It calls into question its fundamentals, the way of creating, the role of the artist. Presenting an object in a public space must find an alternative today, because we do not know when it will be possible again. Should we go towards digital forms? For an artist like me who has always advocated physical contact with the work, it is hard to consider, yet I am convinced that the exhibition as it existed until two months ago in a place with objects , will one day be exceeded. Regarding the role of the artist, there too, we have to reinvent ourselves. No one needs us today. There are emergency masks, medical supplies. What place can art have in an emergency? When I see the decoration of all these homes that appear on the screen, I am dismayed, I do not see any work of art, including among doctors. People seem to live fine without art. What’s the point of us? This crisis is like a crash test on the purpose of art. Mine passes the test, because I consider art an act of resilience. For me, the purpose of art is to create a common language with the different areas of society, to reinforce the feeling of common good. In the current period, my atypical profile takes on its meaning: to save coral, develop eco-materials, develop PLA, raise awareness and educate about biodiversity, all these actions correspond to my personal definition of what an artist is. I feel useful.
AOC21 – Will ecology win?
J.G. – I hope so ! Everyone seems to finally understand, the pandemic comes from our destructive relationship with the environment. We will all develop greener lifestyles and practices, because we are all jointly responsible for the current situation.
Living in confinement in Paris, with air quality and the sound of birds, is an incredible experience. Finding a quality of life so quickly gives hope, we tell ourselves that it is possible. The resilience of nature can be very fast, we see, that means that we can quickly repair certain things, such as the climate, pollution and the loss of biodiversity. Local buying is back in force, interest in nature too. I want to be optimistic.
AOC21 – Where is your project “Coral artefact” aiming to protect the coral reef?
J.G. – This project is supported by an endowment fund. It brings together many stakeholders, scientists, industrialists, but also art players, such as Claire Durand-Ruel, very committed to my side. In 2019, we carried out an initial research protocol which showed that organic cotton lace is a potential support for coral development. The next step is to improve this support, to make it as effective as existing and polluting supports like plastic ones. The tests planned in the field, in the Pacific, are unfortunately postponed with the coronavirus!
Corail Artefact, Jérémy Gobé – photo Manuel Obadia Wills
Conversation with Alice Audouin, May 2020.
Find all the articles from Impact Art News n°19 – May 2020