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EXIT #12 - Working

Producciones de Arte y Pensamiento, S.L.

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EditorialOlivares & Asociados SL
YearNovember / 2003
LanguageSpanish / English
PagesFrom 160 to 200


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EXIT #12 - Working

The biblical phrase “you will eat your bread by the sweat of your brow” put an end to the pleasures of paradise and from that point on the punishment of work went on to form a large part of our lives. Over time we have tried to convince ourselves that it is better not to be without and that work is dignifying and brings us health. In this issue, EXIT #12 – Working, the artistic proposals of the controversial artist Santiago Sierra reflect on how work can be not only a challenging visual subject but also depict a structural relationship. A large part of his work focuses on the contractual relationship of the artist as entrepreneur and the wider public as generally marginalised wage earners; people who earn a wage to perform absurd and senseless jobs. Fernando Castro Flórez runs through and analyses his different proposals.

In the chapter of articles, the editorial by Rosa Olivares presents a respectable and ironic piece under the title Working on Sundays, opening the path for vindication through the following article, Declaration concerning the aims and purposes of the International Labour Organisation, 1944.

Alberto Manguel, the prestigious writer and historian of reading, contributes to this issue with Portraits of Martha and Mary: Representations in art of those who work and those don´t, a beautiful and rhetorical observation about the visual importance in history, art and literature of those who represent work and effort and those who do not. The socio-political counter argument is delivered by the renowned socialist and working class thinker Paul Lafargue, with The right to be lazy, whose first chapter, “Disastrous Dogma”,provokes you to think from the other side. Going deeper still taking a Kafkaesque perspective, the Argentinean author Héctor Álvarez Murena presents a brief text, The evolution of work, that synthesizes the absurdity of most work effort in the productive structures so detached from the individual.

So in this way, between the ethics of physical effort and idea of sacrifice; the representation of typical ways of working in a post-industrial, capitalist and financial society; and the ironies and holidays, we take a look at artistic creation and the consideration of this itself as a job. We come to the conclusion that despite the fact all of us work, to a greater or lesser degree, there are few artists who have taken on this thankless subject within their artworks. However, amongst both classic and contemporary artists we have found Pilar Albarracín, Yto Barrada, Margaret Bourke-White, Miguel Calderón, Walker Evans, Roland Fischer, Lee Friedlander, Gaüeca, David Goldblatt, Andreas Gursky, Lewis Hine, Craigie Horsfield, Abbas Kiarostami, Fritz Lang, Sharon Lockhart, Aernout Mik, Daniela Rossell, Sebastião Salgado, August Sander, Eugene W. Smith, Lars Tunbjörjk and Jeff Wall who bring their works together to complete this issue.