Assistant Curator Andrea Popelka
Artists: Arts of the Working Class • AUSLÄNDER with the invited guests HORIZONT Kollektiv • bare minimum collective • Linda Bilda • Eva Egermann • Lamin Fofana • Adelita Husni-Bey • Problem Collective • Bassem Saad • Vina Yun in collaboration with Tine Fetz, Moshtari Hilal, Sunanda Mesquita, and Patu • …
How did it come about that we don’t work to live but rather live to work, and that we can scarcely imagine other forms of living? Taking inspiration from the famous Marienthal Study, In the meantime, midday comes around revolves around questions like these. The international group exhibition looks at the changes to the field of work in the last decades, made more visible by the Covid-19 pandemic, and considers the modalities of collective action and political imagination such global events carry to affect work.
To approach this set of issues, the artworks in the exhibition oscillate between several thematic zones: crisis and social collapse, alongside both historical and contemporary forms of workers’ collective action and organization, are discussed by Lamin Fofana, Adelita Husni-Bey, Problem Collective, and Bassem Saad. Arts of the Working Class and bare minimum collective deal with other ways of being together, such as social bonds and practices that challenge the centrality of labor and reclaim time as the foundation of freedom, while Vina Yun in collaboration with Tine Fetz, Moshtari Hilal, Sunanda Mesquita & Patu and Ausländer consider labor migration and its prospective planetary character. Moreover, the exhibition also takes a look at the specific conditions of artistic work and praxis — through the presentation of works by the late artist Linda Bilda (who died in 2019), and Eva Egermann’s take on them.
“In the meantime, midday comes around” is a quote taken from a seminal sociological study on unemployment from the 1930s called Marienthal: The Sociography of an Unemployed Community that was highly inspirational for this exhibition project. The researchers Marie Jahoda, Paul F. Lazarsfeld, and Hans Zeisel produced the book after several months of study of Marienthal, a district of the community Gramatneusiedl just outside Vienna, which was severely affected by the post-1929 worldwide economic crisis: almost all of its working population became unemployed.