Winter 2021

Editorial : In these times of pandemic

The initial drafting of the 2020-2021 winter issue of Magazin’Art, coincided with the onset of the Québec government imposed 28 days challenge on September 25 aimed at curbing the propagation of COVID-19 in the designated red zones. Since last March, the fight against the pandemic has strongly impacted the cultural sector, including the publishing industry. Magazin’Art has not been spared despite its willingness to support artists, galleries and art diffusion centres in their outreach and marketing mission across Canada. For a variety of reasons linked to the impacts of the pandemic, the cultural world has taken another hit. Yet, it fared pretty well at the beginning of September in its ability to put in place measures and innovative alternatives to welcome the public in the context of a pandemic. Nevertheless, museums, art diffusion and exhibition centres, galleries and a variety of events, at least in the worst affected areas, have had to again pause their activities, as did restaurants, sporting centres and various other economic sectors having direct interaction with the public. Through these hazards, a number of commercial art galleries have kept their doors opened. At the start of the season, the few exhibitions and other cultural activities still opened to the public, often conveyed a rather gloomy atmosphere faced with a prudent public and due to the measures in place. Then many expressed a desire for change and innovation. But is accessing culture via Zoom really desirable? In part, certainly, as a whole, not really. Direct contacts between the work and the viewer, as between the artist and the public, will always be part of the creation-diffusion circle of any artistic production. Over the weeks, we witnessed the emergence of numerous online diffusions of cultural events in the visual arts sector. These initiatives garnered a variety of results. The coming months will tell us whether they were really successful or a simple parenthesis. Visual artists, for their part, grappled with the pandemic in different ways. Some were resilient while others felt themselves sinking into some form of lethargy that consequentially had real impact on their creativity and by extension on their production. The free time that opened-up in the absence of other activities has been used by some artists either to increase their production or to reflect on and rethink their practice, while experiencing a profound sentiment of emptiness in the lower abdomen. What will the consequences be? What form will recovery take? At what speed will the reprise of previously normal activities happen? Certainly with great joy. Whatever the case may be, the pandemic will have demonstrated the need to better diversify and increase our virtual dissemination… meanwhile.

Marie-France Bégis