Motion /Labour /Machinery

Mercedes Azpilicueta, Doris Denekamp & Geert van Mil, Fotini Gouseti, Anne Maria Łuczak, Fran Meana, Carme Nogueira, Charlotte Schleiffert, Werker Magazine
TENT Rotterdam
29.10.2015 - 10.01.2016

The group exhibition Motion /Labour /Machinery aims to generate playful and speculative avenues for critical reflection on ways to think about labour & the city on micro to macro levels. The artists in the show deal with the contradictions and biases that we are facing today when we think about and try to depict the relations between labour and leisure, working time and free time, and the multi-layered transitions between these two fundamental states of human existence.

Rotterdam is a perfect case study of the late capitalist city where the constant spatial displacement of people and goods in the harbour generates an economy in motion. The dominant image of Rotterdam used to be the harbour, with its ships, docks and workers, sweating, toiling and hoisting, captured by iconic photographers such as Cas Oorthuys, Ben van Meerendonk and Robert de Hartogh. In the course of sixty years, Rotterdam gradually transformed from an industrial city into a leisure city attracting more tourists than ever, thanks to architectural icons such as the Market Hall.

Art has an ambiguous, if not conflictive, relationship to work. It has been defined as being a creative compulsion beyond the call of duty of work, or as incomparable to work, because it doesn’t seem to fit into the normal categories of work. Now that the boundaries between intellectual, immaterial and manual labour are gradually dissolving, artistic labour is becoming more representative of the functioning of a society as a whole. This raises new questions concerning the role of the artist in society and the political dimensions of art. What is today’s image of work in the realm of the arts? What is the condition of artistic work today? What is work? The show brings together artistic positions dealing with the contemporary nature of work and subjectivities produced by it, while at the same time unavoidably reflecting on what it means to work as an artist today. The exhibition is curated by Manuel Segade (ES, based in Rotterdam), in cooperation with artistic director Mariette Dölle and curator Jesse van Oosten at TENT.