La Peste, 2019


Screen print on Somerset Satin 300gsm paper

29.92 x 44.09 in

76.0 x 112.0 cm

Edition of 20

Signed and numbered

PRICE: $615

    About The Work

    “My work explores love and yearning, loss and grief, memory and dream and the unreliability of these things. I make my work with exactitude and attention; it’s what the world deserves.” (David Austen)

    With sources as varied as 19th century literature, poetry, ancient myth and film noir, the impetus of Austen’s work often derives from his immediate surroundings. There is a liveliness and generosity in his approach to art-making, a delicacy of touch, a delight in the unexpected, and a disarmingly nuanced understanding of complex human emotions.

    In ‘La Peste’, Austen creates a point of entry into the realm of Albert Camus’ philosophical novel (The Plague) about a society under siege of an epidemic echoing the underlying threat of fascism. Taking words derived from a final paragraph:

    …it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it roused up its rats again and sent them forth to die in a happy city. (Albert Camus, The Plague, 1947)

    Using these lines, Austen repositions the text into what might be a new beginning of the novel; ‘IT BEGAN IN A HAPPY CITY,’ creating a cyclical narrative of events. Floating on the paper’s surface with punctuation and context removed, but rendered larger-than-life with the textured edge of each letter, and graphic contrast of black and white highly visible - These politically-charged words resonate on many levels, the proximity of darkness and light hinting at something lying just below the surface, ready to re-surge.

    Courtesy of Dundee Contemporary Arts

    About David Austen

    • Due to government lockdown, orders from UK-based partners may be delayed until further notice.
    • This work is final sale and not eligible for return.
    • Questions about this work?
    • Interested in other works by this artist or other artists? We will source them for you.
    • Want to pay in installments?

    Contact an Artspace Advisor


    a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.


    through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.


    authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.


    with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.


    Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.