The rise of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have forced us to restrict our activities to private space, and thus to limit our social interactions, now largely replaced by voice and video connections made via popular messaging apps and forcing upon us a new temporal perspective. A moment of respite from the daily routine soon released a stream of conflicting messages. The recommendation of physical distancing laid bare issues of social inequalities and exclusions. A state of exception became a pretext for various abuses; after the introduction of a work-from-home system during lockdown, it turned out that working hours in a media-saturated environment could be infinitely extended, which violated the right to rest, but also the blurring of the line between work time and free time appeared as a fulfilment of the so recently announced “end of sleep” in late capitalism.1
With its realistic rendering of figures and visible brushstrokes, the work by Tatjana Danneberg appears to be a painting. Only upon closer inspection do we discover that the artist uses mixed media, combining painting, photography, print, and – used in the conservation and restoration of both artworks and furniture – organic glue. The cracks on the “painterly” surface mean that the represented scenes seem to be disintegrating. One example of this is the photography-and-painting object titled Should I Show More Interest in the World? (2019) where, in the central part of the picture, we see a figure (the artist’s sister) who, having fallen asleep, is unaware of being portrayed. The telephone in her hand suggests that her relaxed pose is but a pretence. Made a year ago, the work did not yet anticipate the uncertainty caused by the lockdown introduced in early spring 2020. On the other hand, we can interpret it today in the context of how the ongoing pandemic, heralding a new, yet unknown order, makes quiet sleep impossible.
– Tatjana Danneberg, Should I Show More Interest in the World?, 2019
and What Day Is It?, 2020
BWA Zielona Góra
Tatjana Danneberg (b. 1991) studied at the Technische Universität in Vienna (2009–2011) and the Akademie der bildenden Künste there (2009–2017), and at the Städelschule (Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste) in Frankfurt am Mein (2014–2015). Her works have been exhibited at La Maison de Rendez Vous in Brussels and the Austrian Cultural Forum in Warsaw. She lives and works in Vienna and Warsaw. Next year, she will present a solo exhibition at the Salzburger Kunstverein.
1 See Jonathan Crary, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (London and New York: Verso, 2013).