Work it, feel it! at Kunsthalle Wien

Artists: Apparatus 22, Hannah Black, Danilo Correale, Juliette Goiffon, Charles Beauté, Louise Hervé, Chloé Maillet, Shawn Maximo, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Toni Schmale, Romana Schmalisch, Robert Schlicht, Visible Solutions

Exhibition title: Work it, feel it!

Curated by: Anne Faucheret, Eva Meran

Venue: Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria

Date: March 22 – May 28, 2017

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Kunsthalle Wien

Note: Exhibition booklet can be found here

Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien’s contribution to the VIENNA BIENNALE 2017, revolves around notions of work and body – now and in the future. Instead of uncritically reproducing a discourse around work that focuses on innovation and optimization – as is often the case – the artists of the exhibition Work it, feel it! deliberately take a critical approach towards this topic – one that is informed by a profound examination of historic and current disciplinary mechanisms shaping society. The focus lies on the disciplining of the human body, on the demands placed on it and its possibilities to act, as seen against the backdrop of the capitalist organization and definition of work as well as increasing automation.

Repressive or stimulating, biopolitical measures have – since industrialization – shaped individuals and workers, thereby ensuring socially acceptable and productive behavior. Since the mid 20th century “enclosed milieus”, such as schools, factories or the family are being replaced by the mechanisms of a “society of control” that operates through knowledge and information, thereby denying or granting access. Today, individual self-control and conformity are ensured by permanent processes of evaluation and examination, development and growth, collection and exploitation of data, as well as by real-time communication and monitoring.

Work is an activity central to human beings. As such, it clearly reveals how societies of control operate. Today, work is about more than just securing one’s economic livelihood: It seems to be the only way to attain social recognition; while its primacy in life – controlling the direction and pace of daily life – remains widely unquestioned. As work has become more flexible and more precarious, workers are forced to conceive themselves as a company and to market themselves as their own product. Competence alone is not enough: The total mind-body package has to be just right and ready to be activated during the work process. As such, control mechanisms no longer serve only to train and shape the body as a perfect tool for production and consumption. The body itself becomes the target of work. To upgrade the self in increasingly competitive contexts, technologies can be of help – moving closer and closer to the body or even entering it. Life merges with work and technology, while the latter accesses all of our activities, private feelings, wishes and thoughts, exploits them and makes them productive.

The slogan Work it, feel it! does not only represent an ironic watchword commenting the unquestioned and willing submission to modern work requirements. It is also intended to remind us of (partly unconscious) moments of bodily resistance: Affects or symptoms such as depression, stress, nervousness, and illness are usually understood and treated as common side effects; but they can also be interpreted as a source of physical resistance. And there are some human needs that can’t be co-opted: Sleep and love resist the transformation of bodies into total productivity.

From today’s perspective and with a view towards the future, the artists of the exhibition analyze and speculate as they ask questions about the subjugation of the body and about strategies of escape and resistance. The artists assert their position using a variety of media. Sidsel Meineche Hansen, for example, presents a print series and a wooden sculpture to examine the individual’s relationship to neo-capitalist notions of work. Juliette Goiffon and Charles Beauté’s plexiglass and brass objects evoke environments that alternate between a futuristic home office and fitness studio interiors. Danilo Correale uses his video work to discuss sleep as a form of resistance or even protest, while the group Apparatus 22 marks the human body as a battlefield of civilization norms by means of poetic texts tattooed on leather. The artworks on display serve as a starting point for an extensive side program that offers an in-depth examination of the themes addressed in the exhibition.

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Danilo Correale, No More Sleep No More, 2014/16, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Raucci/Santamaria, Naples/Milan

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Shawn Maximo, Creeper Comforts (Specialty Multi), 2017, Courtesy the artist

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Sidsel Meineche Hansen, ONEself, 2015, Courtesy the artist and Rodeo Gallery, London

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Sidsel Meineche Hansen, ONEself, 2015, Courtesy the artist and Rodeo Gallery, London

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Visible Solutions, Clarity, 2010, Courtesy the artists

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Apparatus 22, Untitled V1, V2, V5, V7, V8, from the series: ARRANGEMENTS & HAZE, 2017, Courtesy the artist, GALLLERIAPIÙ, Bologna and KILOBASE BUCHAREST, Bukarest

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Danilo Correale, Boosted, 2014, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Raucci/Santamaria, Naples/Milan

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Juliette Goiffon / Charles Beauté: Upgrade (overall equipment), 2017, Courtesy the artists and Galerie Eva Meyer, Paris

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Juliette Goiffon / Charles Beauté: Upgrade (overall equipment), 2017, Courtesy the artists and Galerie Eva Meyer, Paris

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Romana Schmalisch/Robert Schlicht, Let Live and Make Work, 2017, Courtesy the artists

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Hannah Black, Bodybuilding, 2015, Courtesy the artists and Arcadia Missa, London

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Shawn Maximo, Creeper Comforts (Specialty Multi) (Detail), 2017, Courtesy the artist

Installation view: Work it, feel it!, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Photo: Jorit Aust: Toni Schmale, hafenperle II, from the series: fuhrpark. was das/der neue gefährt sein kann, 2013, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Christine König, Vienna

Shawn Maximo, SMCC (Detail), 2017, Courtesy the artist

Juliette Goiffon / Charles Beauté, Face mask #1, 2016, Courtesy the artists and Galerie Eva Meyer, Paris

Danilo Correale, Boosted, (Detail), 2014, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Raucci/Santamaria, Naples/Milan

Danilo Correale, No More Sleep No More, 2014/16, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Raucci/Santamaria, Naples/Milan

Sidsel Meineche Hansen, The Manual Labour Series, 2013, Courtesy the artist and Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden

Louise Hervé / Chloe Maillet, Prosper Enfantins Performances, 2009, Courtesy the artists

 

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