British designer Morag Myerscough has created a colourful installation in Paris that offers a fresh take on the phrase “a new normal”, which has become a popular way of referring to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Myerscough‘s A New Now installation aims to encourage people to focus on the positive changes that have already occurred as a result of Covid-19, rather than trying to predict the long-term impacts it will have.
“I am reacting against the phrase ‘a new normal’, which has been bandied about since the beginning of lockdown,” Myerscough told Dezeen. “For me, that was a waste of time – we were and are still living in ‘a new now’.”
“On many levels we are still experiencing the pause button,” she continued. “I believe it is impossible to predict the future. We can’t plan; we have to make the most of the here and now.”
“We have all experienced this together, we have had time that we have never had collectively before in the majority of our lifetimes to spend reflecting, to start understanding and rethinking about what is important to us as individuals, families, local communities and the global community.”
Located close to the Centre Pompidou in central Paris, the colourful installation was built in a small square alongside the 16th-century Saint-Merry church.
The eight-metre-tall installation was commissioned by Paris-based 6M3 Collective as part of its Embellish Paris initiative, which aims to draw attention to overlooked spaces in the heart of the city.
Myerscough painted the installation, which is a combination of colourful, geometric shapes, in her signature style at her London studio over a three week period.
She hopes that the display will spark conversation as well as create “a feeling of empowerment and optimism”.
“I love that my work is like brightly coloured flowers that suddenly appear among often-grey urban architecture, bloom for a while, then disappear without a trace,” the designer explained.
“This piece is a beacon of multiple colours and chaotic geometric shapes, growing up from the ground and rising up to a strong neon statement: ‘A NEW NOW’ laid over a calm graduated sunrise, intended to spark the imagination of passers-by with simple, arresting confidence and powerful optimism.”
“I have always felt strongly that we need art in every form to challenge us, stimulate us and transport us from the everyday, but at this time particularly it is essential for our wellbeing,” Myerscough continued.
“It can be used to get messages out on the streets for everyone to engage with, respond to situations expressively and inquisitively, find ways to connect collectively, and raise peoples’ spirits.”
“Art and creativity is in all our souls, and without it we are missing the vitality of what makes us engaged as human beings,” she added.
With opportunities to visit museums being limited during the pandemic, Myerscough believes that we should take the opportunity to explore the potential of outdoor artworks in cities.
“At this present time, the current situation feels like a slow road to recovery,” she said.
“So we should see it as an opportunity to rethink how we use our outside spaces to make them work harder and be more experimental and expressive for everyone,” she continued.
“Our streets, buildings and open spaces should be playgrounds for public art and for making artworks that connect with communities, that give a sense of belonging and pride – it’s a powerful way of bringing people together and enriching our environment.”
London-based Myerscough also responded to the pandemic by creating “a message of thanks and love to our incredible dedicated frontline workers” on a billboard in Leeds.
Photography is by Art Milan Mazaud, Thomas Lang and Gareth Gardner.
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