reviews > COVID-19

The Purpose of Disease, the title of Amiko Li’s exhibition at the University of Georgia's Dodd Galleries, begs weighty questions, a surprising range of which are touched on by the artworks on display. Open for only one day before the school had its pandemic shutdown, the show features photographs, mounted on a hospital-green wall, picturing those for whom disease is a professional calling (doctors), creatures whose lives have been taken in pursuit of its eradication (laboratory animals), young men adrift on its account (patients), practices offered in pursuit of its opposite, wellness (flowers, yoga). In a two-channel video, young actors try and mostly fail to perform sickness as a visible condition, mixing the pat gestures of heart attack and the sniffles with the ticks of their own healthy bodies. Phrases scattered about—printed on mirrored panels, written on a post-it note, vinyl transferred to windows—reflect on human sensitivity, adaptability and limitation. The purpose of disease isn’t given, but it can be found.

—Lori Waxman 2020-12-11 11:04 AM