Love in the age of cold intimacies: the virtual exhibition exploring the paradoxes of modern romance

Love in the age of cold intimacies: the virtual exhibition exploring the paradoxes of modern romance
Image: Don't Know You So I Can't Love you (2018) by Marge Monko

20 July 2021

How have social media, neoliberalism, and Covid-19 transformed romance? Modern Love (or Love in the Age of Cold Intimacies), showing online and in the Estonian capital’s Tallinn Art Hall until 5 September, brings together 16 artists to display works that offer a new take on the problems and patterns of modern romance, and explore the idea of “cold intimacies” engendered by social media.

“On one hand, the internet and social media have facilitated the expression of non-heteronormative identities, forms of desire, and alternative ways of being. On the other, they have played a problematic role in cultivating narcissism, obsessive self-performativity, digital dependency, and the commodification of emotion,” explains exhibition curator, Katerina Gregos. “At a time of increasing alienation, individualism, and loneliness — symptoms of our increasingly urbanised, digitally-networked lifestyles — the exhibition prompts us to think how we can reclaim meaningful relationships.”

Show highlights include You Will be Free, a dystopian, video game-style short by French artist Juliet Jacques where audiences reflect on the meaning of life through the eyes of “drop-outs and drifters” who do not fit conventional definitions of success. Elsewhere, Marijke de Roover created Niche Content for Frustated Queers, a series of pandemic and dating-themed memes. Meanwhile, in Do You Have Work Tomorrow, Egyptian artist Mahmoud Khaled frames screenshots of text messages to capture contemporary flirting. Other artists, such as Melanie Bonajo and Marge Monko, use photography as a way to bring attention to the rise of loneliness in our modern relationships, such as the increasing use of screens to communicate with our loved ones, and the absence of physical touch.

Tour the exhibition here.

The Selfie Song (2013) by Marijke de Roover
Don't asking me nothing about nothing I just might tell you the truth (2020) by Marijke de Roover
Do jokes help? No, they hurt, only if they're any good (2020) by Marijke de Roover
You Will be Free (2018) by Juliet Jacques
Do You Have Work Tomorrow? (2013) by Mahmoud Khaled
Family Dinner (2019) by Maria Mavroupoulou
Night Soil (2015) by Melanie Bonajo
You never drink alone when you have ghosts from your past (2020) by Marijke de Roover

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