Surrealist illustrations by Simo Liu of “disaster rooms” from which we hope to escape


Called Escape, his illustrations tell the story of a lonely character trying to escape from different rooms in search of utopia. “These rooms represent natural and man-made disasters that occurred in 2020,” explains Simo. “From coronavirus, locust invasions, forest fires, floods and earthquakes. Covid-19, in particular, has resulted in limited flights, travel bans, social distancing rules and more – all leaving us feeling trapped.

“In the meantime, we are seeing people in other countries treating the pandemic differently, some more lightly but others more harshly. Either way, this year has left us feeling overwhelmed and wanting to escape the chaos.”

Simo was inspired by Bong Joon-ho’s dark comedy thriller Parasite, and His Opposite Worlds as well as twists and turns in Maurits Cornelis Escher’s graphical paintings. “The two show contradictory spaces, from which it is extremely difficult to escape,” she says.

Creating nine different rooms for the series, Simo presents “eight individual difficulties” but one of hope, and that is utopia. “Even though we are suffering right now, there is still light in the dark. Eventually the pandemic will go away, the sun will rise again.”

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