We are pleased to announce the opening of the new How to Work (More for) Less exhibition at the Kunsthalle Basel.
The exhibition was developed as a series of modifications made to the artworks from the previous group exhibition in the Kunsthalle entitled How to Work . In How to Work the different ways in which one works as an artist today should be questioned. The exhibition gathered a variety of answers to questions about the underlying motivation for the production of art, the processes used by the artists and the goals they pursue. A spectrum of contemporary production methods was examined, from the rhetorical execution of a typical studio practice to the appropriation of existing cultural material to the blurring of the boundaries between commercial and artistic work; from semi-invisible, subversive actions in public space to transferring the work to third parties. These working methods and the strategies they represent can refer to various radical developments in 20th century art.
The idea was to continue working on the “existing” exhibition and to give it a new title: How to Work Less . This not only refers to a productive break in production; This also undermines the demand for absolute novelty, which drives the majority of art exhibitions today, as well as for exhibitions with the most transparent conditions and content possible, an equally frequently pursued goal in today’s exhibition practice. With our suggestion “to work less” we hoped to achieve more. One of the participating artists, Adriana Lara, suggested the new title in How to Work (More for) Less to change, a crucial change that was accepted by the curators. With this intervention, Lara emphasizes the fact that the exhibition itself is often still not seen as part of the artistic work. According to Lara, the logic of efficiency (more products, less costs) works in the same way as in any other economic sector.
Some of the works shown in How to Work have been expanded, others have been rearranged, and still others are shown in a reduced form or even left out entirely. Only two other artists who had not already participated in the last exhibition were invited to How to Work (More for) Less : Judith Hopf and Pedro Wirz, who contributed a project of collaborative sculptures for the back wall of the Kunsthalle.
Since the constant increase in work efficiency, productivity and profit is inherentin capitalism, refusal to work gives birth to an economic nightmare. The notion of “leaving work” or even “working less” critically points to the distinction between work and leisure that defines the capitalist organization of time. At the same time, the critical distancing from work means more work – and this is what the artists in the exhibition have decided to do.