Marks – Tattoo

Our New Normal

Upon invitation by TAAK, Alina Lupu will weekly blog in response to the covid-19 crisis – as a way to be aware, (re)consider, reach out and relate. To read more about the project and Alina Lupu, click here.


I call this a performative intervention, but you can be free to disagree.

We can just then together call it an attempt to remember. Or an intimate piece. A way to deal with the mental and bodily exhaustion of working as an artist within a capitalist economic system. Or we can just say that in 2017 I decided to begin getting a tattoo that would spread throughout my entire body and throughout the remaining years of my life.

The initial piece was tattooed by Nicolas Chuard and was simply the word “TIRED” drawn in scattered letters all across my body. There's a “T” behind my right ear, an “I” on my left upper arm, an “R” on my back, and “E” on my upper left leg and a “D” close to my ankle.

And each time I try to commemorate exhaustion I add more letters across my body and supplement the ones already there.

There's a sentence that popped up in 2018: “I'M SO TIRED I COULD SLEEP.” when Cassidy Toner hosted me in her improvised bedroom gallery in Basel, Switzerland, with the help of her studio mate Marie Matusz who poked letters into my skin for hours.

And this year, more than anything, it made sense to add another sentence still, which goes something like this:

“I WAS NOT TIRED PHYSICALLY, OR NO MORE TIRED THAN I USUALLY WAS AT THE END OF A WORKING DAY.”

The quote comes from Rosa Parks and it's being drilled down, in two separate sessions, by my friend Lisa Sudhibhasilp, in Amsterdam.

Lisa took the decision to expand her practice as an artist during this year by tattooing the bodies of friends. The tattoes are made on donation. All the proceeds from these actions end up being donated to local Black Lives Matters associated organizations such as Nederland Wordt Beter, The Black Archives and Black Queer & Trans resistence.

The action is a way of remembering what this year meant, beyond just the pandemic, though still within it's framework. That, in spite of exhaustion, it's always worth imagining new ways of living together, and that we should keep the marks of remembrance always with us.

Our New Normal is made possible in part by AFK (Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst).