Now that the pandemic is subsiding somewhat in certain countries, cities, towns and hamlets (which is not to make light of Queen Elizabeth’s current viral condition), its time to look at work that was produced to give people something from the heart throughout quarantine.
“Locknotes” was Daniele Cima’s graphic/visual diary during the Italian lockdown, from March 8–May 4, 2020.
“Every day I designed and posted a new artwork, based simply on the date, graphically interpreted according to my mood, however trying to play a positive role, to convey optimism and hope to the people who have followed my path on social media,” he details.
Cima gave the 58 artworks to a charity that provided food at home to the elderly and others during the pandemic. He made a catalog, fine art prints, T-shirts, and more. “The gain was reinvested to provide aid to the needy.”
Then there are Cima’s Fiscal Portraits. “They are derivations of contemporary language, of the codifications that all of us today have to adapt to in this era of passwords, in this jumble of vowels and consonants jumbled together—id, app, pin, puk, spid, otp, vas, vax, tav, mes, cvv, usb, pdf, png, jpg,” he says.
The tax codes of humans are the portraits through which the bureaucracy sees us, observes us, scrutinizes us, spies on us, analyzes us. In Cima’s Fiscal Portraits, art also does it, in its own unexpected, imaginative way, converting the dullness and sadness that characterize all that is bureaucracy into freedom and joy.
The characters that he portrays make the very idea that they are represented by their tax code absurd, and it all adds a quality of surrealism to the works. “Portraits based on the tax codes of Mona Lisa, Che Guevara or Clark Kent mock the obscurantist rigor of the bureaucrats who created them and give a new, very different, unexpected life to normally sad and dry letters and numbers.”
If you are confused, blame the pandemic.