Virus Classics

By Smriti Agrahari

Virus Classics contains a series of sculptures and prints. Presenting a lightly-satirical, black-humoured – and, with luck, soon hugely nostalgic – graphic record of these extraordinary times.  Taking our most treasured literary classics and giving them a topical spin. Titles in the series include At Least 2 Metres from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, Covid’s Metamorphoses, Lionel Shriver’s We Need to talk about Boris and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Ocado. 

Beyond the wit of the titles, the designs reveal yet another layer. Twenty-one spoof volumes are featured in total, each mimicking the size and style of the paperbacks of The Penguin English Library, designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith. Because of this, the artworks feel both hearteningly familiar and laden with satire. 

For example, John Le Carré’s masterpiece The Constant Gardener becomes The Constant Gardening, on the cover of which Fenwick portrays secateurs and watering cans, deckchairs and paddling pools, mini bottles of whisky and garden sheds, depicting several distinct experiences of lockdown. Many embraced gardening as part of the default national obsession; for others, loss of jobs or romantic opportunity meant more time spent alone. 

Works can be viewed online

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