vincent tanguy's artwork predicted aspects of social distancing in 2020
 

vincent tanguy's artwork predicted aspects of social distancing in 2020

in june 2019, vincent tanguy decided to lock himself up for five days in a suburban neighborhood of shanghai. in scenes strangely reminiscent of the imposed lockdowns of 2020, the performance art piece – titled ‘the convenient life (version 1)’ challenged the french artist to live with nothing but a smartphone and 500 yuan (60 euros) worth of credit. just like experiences of COVID-19 quarantine, tanguy lived off digital platforms and home delivery services only, in an attempt to push the boundaries of this absurd lifestyle.

vincent tanguy's artwork predicted aspects of social distancing in 2020 designboom

vincent tanguy, the convenient life (version 1), 2019, performance 5 days, from june 1st to june 6th 2019 cement park live house, SOWERART space, shanghai, china

all images courtesy of vincent tanguy

 

 

similarly, ‘the wandering’ is a june 2019 video performance featuring tanguy wandering the streets of shanghai with a luminous ring hovering around his ankles, like a spawning asset from a video game. looking back, the undertaking appears as a materialization of physical distancing, but also of the recent deployment of devices monitoring the movement of bodies in public space, drones and contact search applications having been widely used in asia after the lockdown, especially in singapore, south korea and china.

 

 

 

even before that, in 2018, vincent tanguy had designed an imaginary stadium with stands shaped like computer keyboards, surrounding a pitch-like screen with a green background (‘connection stadium’, 2018). the sculpture appears as a metaphor for the growing number of sporting events being broadcast live on screens, and arenas consequently becoming ghostly spaces with no interactions between supporters and players, except through keyboards or touch screens.

vincent tanguy's artwork predicted aspects of social distancing in 2020 designboom

vincent tanguy, connection stadium, 2018 sculpture LCD screen, LED, glass, plaster, wood 144 x 44 x 105 cm

 

 

last but not least, in 2015, vincent tanguy photographed display stands in several art galleries before digitally removing the actual works from the pictures (‘breaks’, 2015). this series of 10 photographs questions the influence of virtual reality over contemporary art shows and foreshadows the development of online platforms for artworks. since then, the business of digital platforms for art has been considerably expanding and many exhibitions and art fairs being cancelled this year will only take place online, as is the case for the famous art basel. so, is vincent tanguy really a visionary artist, or are these nothing but coincidences? one thing is for sure, his works are nothing short of intriguing.

vincent tanguy's artwork predicted aspects of social distancing in 2020 designboom

vincent tanguy, break 5 (extract from the series ‘breaks’), 2015 digital photographs, colors digital printing, colors 40 x 30 cm

vincent tanguy's artwork predicted aspects of social distancing in 2020 designboom

vincent tanguy, break 1 (extract from the series ‘breaks’), 2015 digital photographs, colors digital printing, colors 40 x 30 cm

 

vincent tanguy, the convenient life (version 1), 2019, performance 5 days, from june 1st to june 6th 2019 cement park live house, SOWERART space, shanghai, china

 

 

project info:

 

artist: vincent tanguy

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lynne myers | designboom

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