Maria Pisano, “Fractured: Covid 19 – Memento Mori vs. Memento Vivere”



Maria Pisano
Plainsboro, New Jersey

Fractured: Covid 19 – Memento Mori vs. Memento Vivere
diverse papers, digital and intaglio printing
Journal: 6.25”W x 9”H, Masks display: 34” W x 9”H , Tents display: 23”W x 6.25”H


Artist Statement

Fractured: Covid 19 – Memento Mori vs.Memento Vivere, reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic. This artist book takes one on the journey we, in our country, have being raked through in this epidemic, reflecting the constant barrages of lies, irresponsibility, inefficiencies and ineptitude by our Washington leaders, causing many to die, suffer physically, mentally and to go hungry in the wealthiest nation in the world. Seen from my perspective as a daily journal, and reflecting on what is presented to me via television, newspapers and the internet – the constant barrages of news that are mind altering and unnerving.

Collected in a phase box, the work has three parts. A 3D Installation, presenting two
contrasting views: Tents of Hope vs. Masks of Death. In the work, symbolic tent structures with the seven humanitarian qualities listed below, are used to carry the message of frontline and essential workers in the format of a protective circle/embrace. In contrast, the government’s response is represented by the use of seven masques referencing Edgar Allan Poe’s story, The Masque of the Red Death, which are paired by the Seven Deadly Sins from Dante’s Divine Comedy: Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and greed. In Poe’s story the lavish party that Prince Prospero gives for his wealthy friends takes place in seven rooms, each a different color, as reflected/represented by the masks. The tents and masks are accompanied by a 70 page Journal on the Covid-19 pandemic that upended our lives, responding to current events from early March through the end of June 2020.

The work compares the response from our government to the virus vs. essential/front
line workers, who are the real heroes in our lives: individuals who are selfless and reli
able, performing their work with empathy and devotion and placing their lives on the line; like Roseann and Gabriella Tucci, Annie Park, Michelle Romero, Cristina Steo – all nurses, committed workers whose voices and concerns are added to the journal. They give us HOPE, and show us Courage, Devotion, Humanity, Honor, Integrity and Truth. The journal includes poems, prose, and art by the artist, and is interjected with images of the natural progression and beauty of the seasons that for me are a blessing, providing constancy, resilience and hope. My garden is a place of joy, fragility and renewal, a focus to counteract the daily indignities in the news, a place to regenerate.