Trafó Gallery Budapest, Muzeum Sztuki Lodz, Futura Prague, AMT
Artists: Adam Chodzko, Petra Feriancova, Siniša Labrović, Ciprian Muresan, Csaba Nemes, Nada Prlja, Janek Simon, Péter Szabó and Katarina Šević
Curated by: Maja and Reuben Fowkes
The title of the exhibition is taken from the book by a Hungarian dissident Miklos Haraszti titled A Worker in a Worker's State. The book presents the ignoble working conditions and the acts of employees' resistance that the author witnessed when working at the Red Star factory in Hungary in the early 1970s. Haraszti describes the illegitimate practice of creating objects for personal use by means of machinery, and materials available at the factory. The objects were the fruit of the workers' creativity bringing relief to the dull days at work, challenging the exploitation of doing piecework. Social creativity released in the process of creating the objects can be contrasted with the Post-Fordist reality in which all activities related to creative thinking are sucked back into the vicious circle of economic profitability and emotional energy is translated into professional competition.
The exhibition presents the works that touch upon the theme of adjusting working environment and everyday life to the requirements of economic mobilisation of human passions; the works offer alternative models of life that release free time and allow it to be used creatively: for learning, travelling, enjoying it. Escape routes fro the rules governing contemporary social and economic order are discovered in the places and activities you least expect to find them such as a painting recollection of common celebrations in times of communism or reflection on the freedom of having fun in public places before there appeared a ubiquitous fear of the dangers of contemporary world. The pursuit of happiness and fulfilment is contrasted with mental pollution resulting from the excess of information and set against the background of activities aimed at resurrecting the non-capitalist forms of knowledge as well as at promoting the non-economic approach to inter-human relations.
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