In May 2017, we started reorganising the video footage, sound recordings, replicas of documents and books that compose the archive of Art Work(Ers). The research began from a set of historical facts and some intuitions: the concurrent deskilling of art and industrial labour; the parallel emergence of applied research in the arts and in utopian industrial plans; the observation that art did not enter the factory only after production was over, as an alternative or a gentrification agent. Rather, artistic production had often overlapped, both aesthetically and politically, with industrial labour and materials.
Art Work(Ers) was grounded around two alpine industrial sites. The first one is the Chippis workers’ village in Wallis, where the Aluminium factory Constellium (former Alusuisse) started production in 1908. The other site is Ivrea where, always in 1908, the Olivetti typing machine factory started its reflection on the social role and the aesthetics of work. Both industrial premises were partially reconverted in educational sites and claimed as heritage by institutions and the civil society in the last ten years.
The research results in a 3-screen movie, a series of sculptures, an installation, a collection of video interviews, four editorial projects and sound recordings on show at the Corner College. The space is designed by Christopher Füllemann, Petra Köhle and Robert Ireland’s sculptures and installations that revisit a 1959 archival image of the Olivetti workers’ reading room by architect Ignazio Gardella. Donatella Bernardi’s Cerebrovascular insult (CVI) (2015) and L’Aquarelle (2015) mingle the multiple-oriented Olivetti showroom aesthetics with “the digital era and of the visual codes of psychedelia”. A two-channel movie by Petra Köhle, Robert Ireland, Nicolas Vermot-Petit-Outhenin and Aurelie Strumans addresses the blind-spots of the memory of art and industrial labour at the Olivetti (Ivrea) and at Constellium (Chippis). On the occasion of the exhibition will be launched the two first issues of the magazine Blackout, curated by Federica Martini & Christof Nüssli, with a focus on Art Labour and Olivetti. On December 8, Patricio Gil Flood’s the Ecole de non travail convenes one sound symposium in and around the Art Work(ers) research, together with the artists in residence of the project, including Cora Piantoni and Anne-Julie Raccoursier.
The Art Work(ers) research project is supported by the Hes-so research fund and the Canton du Valais.
The exhibition Blackout is a collateral event of the SARN Symposium “Art Research Work” organised by Barbara Preisig and Romy Rüegger / ZhDK, Zürich, December 8-9, 2017. Program HERE.
An exhibition by the Art Work(Ers) research group of the
ECAV – Ecole cantonale d’art du Valais/Sierre
Curated by Robert Ireland, Petra Köhle and Federica Martini
Corner Collège, Zürich
Opening: Dec. 7, 18-21h
Discussion: Dec. 8, 11-13h.
Exhibition: Dec. 8 - Jan. 28.
With contributions by Donatella Bernardi, Christopher Füllemann, Patricio Gil Flood, Robert Ireland, Petra Köhle, Federica Martini, Christof Nüssli, Nicolas Vermot-Petit-Outhenin, Aurélie Strumans.
Texts by Leah Anderson, Andrea Bellini, Donatella Bernardi, Mabe Bethonico, Chrisantha Chetty, Robert Ireland, Alexandros Kyriakatos, Federica Martini, Guillaume Pilet, David Romero, Lise Soskolne (W.A.G.E.), Marcella Turchetto.