Emile Rubino at rhizome_

Artist: Emile Rubino

Exhibition title: Baby, I’m Yours

Curated by: Simon Delobel

Venue: rhizome_, Kortrijk, Belgium

Date: October 21 – December 12, 2023

Photography: ©Useful Art Services, all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and rhizome_, Kortrijk

For nearly six years I worked in an art gallery. I think I loved my job. It wasn’t my first gallery job but it was the first one that involved getting paid to work. It was my first ‘real job’ after grad school. I became a full-time employee. I stabilized my legal and financial situation in a new country. It was a good job. It was a good gallery. I had a desk with a Vitra EA 108 aluminum chair. Coffee was good. The pay wasn’t so good. I often complained about aspects of my job to close friends the same way I would complain about an ungrateful or distracted lover. Days were long. I had supportive colleagues who saw me through hard times. I was often late. But I regularly worked unpaid overtime, and I was very flexible. The partners I dated during these years all told me that my most conservative trait is my people pleasing-personality. I am working on it. Saying no isn’t easy when you are an employee. After years of saying yes to lifting, pulling and pushing, my back began to hurt and I began to feel resentment. I had to find a way to recapture time. Through minuscule deviations in my working day, the gallery became my studio. I made photocopies of objects from the backroom. I hand- colored them during long phone calls. My gaze strayed when I used the gallery’s camera. And I began to document the conditions around the artworks I was documenting. For this work, the conditions of production were located in the gallery only to the extent that, at the time, my life was the gallery.