(Im)material Labour                                                                           More Information

Monday 24 June - Saturday 20 July 2013


Art Exchange – 24 June – 1 July 2013
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ

The exhibition included works by SUPERFLEX, Zachary Formwalt, Ignacio Uriarte, Paul Westcombe and Arnaud Desjardin.

Offsite Space - 24 June – 20 July 2013
Victoria Place, Eld Lane, Colchester Essex, CO1 1LR

The offsite space included works by Martin John Callanan, Pil & Galia Kollectiv, Arnaud Desjardin, Patrick Coyle, Nick Bailey, Paul Westcombe, Hyun Woo Lee and a new commission by Galeria Niewielka.


(Im)material Labour explored our shifting position in an economically functioning society. From the systemisation of post-industrial labour through to the de-materialisation of the service sector, our patterns of working behaviour are constantly being reconfigured.

(Im)material Labour drew together the work of a number of artists who interrogate this phenomenon in light of the current economic climate. Seeking to decode and humanise the financial crisis through analytical ideas and research, the works on display often result in therapeutic and humorous outcomes. The exhibition is formulated within a site-specific context: the former Co-op building housing the disused offices is a metonymy of the current economic climate; it serves as a monument and reminder of the wider implications it has on society. Art Exchange provides further critical discourse, expanding on the issues developed in the offsite space.

Zachary Formwalt’s work In Place of Capital (2009) questions art's capacity to represent abstract movements of global capital through the documentation of financial power bases. Similarly Martin John Callanan’s Letters (2004-06), sent to political and economic authorities analyse the absurdities in power structures and bureaucratic labour. Arnaud Desjardin’s posters denounce the pursuit of personal interest in contemporary society. Ignacio Uriarte works with office devices in order to explore the artistic potential of a simple automatic gesture, whilst Patrick Coyle points to the dematerialization of artistic practice itself (Five Years of More New Blank Documents than Saves, 2010). Pil & Galia Kollectiv’s Co-Operative Explanatory Capabilities in Organizational Design and Personnel Management (2010) investigates the place of creativity in efficiency management through the invention of a fictional computer company, whereas Galeria Niewielka represents ingenuity as a series of senseless and unproductive gestures within the working environment. The new film by Danish collective SUPERFLEX, The Working Life (2013), explores through a therapeutic approach issues of alienation, unemployment and an individual’s place in the economy. Furthermore, Paul Westcombe’s works detail the underlying emotions that arise from the monotony of working long shifts while at the same time challenging notions of productivity, material output and artistic freedom. Systematic labour is further explored in Hyun Woo-Lee’s video work 17 times of I hate this job (2011 ) . By taking self-repression as a point of departure Nick Bailey’s Safe Key (2009) critiques organisational structures and the control of corporate knowledge and power.



Contact: ︎ Jonathan.weston@sunderlandculture.org.uk