Kenny Pittock, A Sign Of The Times, Secret Kitchen restaurant, Exhibition Street, 2020, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Melbourne, photography
In March 2020 artist Kenny Pittock was commissioned to capture the Melbourne CBD at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The result was ‘A Sign Of The Times’ – a series of ceramic sculptures replicating some of the signs that appeared in shop windows when shops were forced to close and the city emptied.
This image is one of 38 photographs forming part of that commission. An exact replica of this sign, can be found on this website.
Kenny writes about the commission below.
Back in late March, 2020, just before Melbourne's first lockdown, I was invited by the City of Melbourne to try to capture something of the moment. Wearing gloves and a mask I went for a walk through the city and found myself drawn to all the signs that had suddenly popped up in every shop window.
These nineteen ceramic sculptures, each hand sculpted from earthenware clay, kiln fired and hand painted, are exact replicas of signs I found hanging on the front doors of businesses throughout Melbourne city on March 28, 2020. The signs I’ve chosen to replicate vary between large chain stores and institutions, to smaller hand written signs by privately owned businesses. The purpose of ‘A Sign Of The Times’ is to create a permanent record of the temporary changes to the way we live within our city during Covid-19. The delicate, fragile nature of the ceramic sign sculptures mirrors that of the economy during this time, aiming to bring global discussions around the economic impacts of this pandemic back down to a local, community level.
There was something urgent in these fleeting signs. With heartfelt thank you’s and concerned well wishes of safety, these signs illustrate the relationship that our businesses have with our community. Some of the signs contain humour while others are more sincere, almost all contain a strong sense of hope and togetherness.
I'd also like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, whose land this series was created on, and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging, who have been creating art here for thousands of years.