Catalogue > At random

John Smith

Covid Messages

Doc. expérimental | hdv | couleur | 22:16 | Royaume-Uni | 2020

'Covid Messages' is a video work in six parts, based around broadcasts of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 press conferences. The work focusses on the British government’s attempts to eliminate the virus through the use of magic spells and rituals. While the pandemic spreads and the death toll rises, the Prime Minister makes repeated errors of judgement. Exasperated by his many mistakes, the spirits of the dead rise up and intervene.

John Smith was born in Walthamstow, London in 1952 and studied at the Royal College of Art, after which he became an active member of the London Filmmakers' Co-op. Inspired in his formative years by conceptual art and structural film, but also fascinated by the immersive power of narrative and the spoken word, he is renowned for a diverse body of work that subverts the perceived boundaries between documentary, fiction, representation and abstraction, playfully exploring and exposing the language of cinema. Since 1972 he has made over sixty film, video and installation works that have been shown in museums, galleries and independent cinemas around the world. Smith’s solo exhibitions include Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover; Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig; Centre d'Art Contemporain de Noisy-le-Sec, Paris; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Kunstmuseum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen, Magdeburg; Turner Contemporary, Margate; Weserburg Museum for Modern Art, Bremen; Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden and Royal College of Art Galleries, London. His work is held in public collections that include Tate Gallery; Arts Council England; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz; FRAC Île de France, Paris and Kunstmuseum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen, Magdeburg.