We've been hearing so many stories of people's much anticipated breakthrough moments being postponed or canceled through the year and been really working hard to try and give them a bit of spotlight and help get the much-deserved attention. One of such moments is the group exhibition Friends and Friends of Friends which is on view at Schlossmuseum in Linz, Austria, from 30th September 2020 until 6th of January 2021 but has been going on and off following the local health regulations.

You know the year has a dark sense of humor when the show whose main idea is to celebrate global connectivity and the ability to share information gets closed for visits a couple of times. And this elaborate group show curated by the artist Oli Epp and the writer and curator Aindrea Emelife, was indeed about paying tribute to the community of young artists who advance artistic and social debates both online and offline. What was meant to be a moment of recognition for almost an entire generation of creatives, with a focus on small circles that formed in the age of social media, became a travel fantasy for the participating artists and art aficionados that wanted to enjoy it in person. At the same time, the exhibition showed the independence of this virtual community to the rules of "old fashioned" life that depended on physical traveling, meetings, and face-to-face discussions. 

The exhibition itself is a comprehensive overview of the younger generation of artists that are using this interconnectivity to highlight the issues of the modern world. Armed with the visibility provided by social media, especially Instagram, their practice is working towards making the art world, and the world in general, more democratic, open, inclusive, and critical. Comprising of artists using diverse mediums and techniques, as well as conceptual or more direct approaches to tackle the subjects they're interested in, the elaborate presentation includes works by 20 international artists that are part of the new community that organically formed in the past few years. With the focus on gender identity, net feminism, Black Lives Matter, Internet culture, and so on, some of our personal highlights include puzzling oil portraiture by Ben Spiers, Brandon Lipchik's voyeuristic, drone-like scenes of suburban life, grotesque ceramic creations by Roxanne Jackson, emotion-driven figures by Cheyenne Julien, a series of surreal scenes by Dominique Fung, sensual bodyscapes by Sarah Slappey, exuberant mixed media creations by Devan Simoyama, or sculptural paintings by Gina Beavers, to name a few. —Sasha Bogojev

The full lineup of the show includes Gina Beavers, Daniel Boccato, Shawanda Corbett, Nick Doyle, Oli Epp, Al Freeman, Dominique Fung, Roxanne Jackson, Cheyenne Julien, Austin Lee, Kris Lemsalu, Dale Lewis, Brandon Lipchik, Rene Matić, Jebila Okongwu, Harrison Pearce, Peter Schuyff, Devan Shimoyama, Sarah Slappey, Ben Spiers.

Photos by Michael-Maritsch