Not only pandemics change everyday life, but also art

Posters mention the impact that diseases had on Danish society (Photo: Dominik Patzner)

By Dominik Patzner

While world dips in the second wave of the current pandemic, the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) launched an exhibition last Tuesday. Its topic presents the impact of pandemics on life throughout history.

A Changed World is rather a trail through already exhibited artworks that took months of preparations. It leads the visitor to 25 different art pieces and accompanies them with supporting information that makes the connection to past epidemics.

“During the lockdown, we had a wish of experimenting and using the collections as a means of getting more knowledge as to how we can deal with our changed world,” explains Annette Hvidt, the art interpreter from SMK.

Starting in the 14th century, the trail presents how plague, tuberculosis, Spanish flu and other diseases influenced the lives of people globally. Besides that, it reminds the current danger of so-called ‘civilisation diseases’. “Pandemics have provided art with the new subject matter, paved the way for new modes of expression,” Mrs Hvidt addresses the possible effect of COVID-19. The exhibition lasts till November 22.

The texts also remind visitors of the Danish role in the fight against tuberculosis after World War II (Photo: Dominik Patzner)