press release

The private view will take place on Thursday March 13 from 6pm to 9pm in the presence of the artists and curators.

The Working Men exhibition was conceived from questioning the ambiguity between the importance of work today and its relative invisibility (in images as in existence). As a social and individual issue, work makes and remakes destiny, and yet nobody considers it as their life, as their identity, as the proof of their liberty, nor as just a simple part of it. Though labour can be represented by artists, a far from negligible part remains inaccessible, imperceptible, and takes place in the intimacy of their minds... The works presented here bare witness just as much to the artist’s vision of the worker as to the artist as the worker. And beyond the field of contemporary art, this exhibition seeks to question the numerous geopolitical, psychological and cultural resonances of work at the present time.

For a second time (the first was Handsome, in 2006), the gallery is calling up and mixing together confirmed artists with artists that are in the making. This is with the aim of inviting all their different energies to express themselves. The international artists, chosen for their reflections on the theme, come from very different backgrounds: video makers, sculptors, fashion designers, directors, historical photographers, etc. They bare witness to the multitude of possible relations with work and with the world. Whether the worker in question makes jeans for Wal-Mart or chops up meat, whether he be a trader, a Californian “harder”, or even unemployed, literally putting his lack of motivation into practice as well as its codes in the hope of integrating (or not) into the world of employment, he is always a man that busies himself, making, thinking, planning, controlling, imagining, applying himself, acting, belting along, studying, moulding and cultivating. ‘Work is an accompanist of life, for oneself and for the others’ says Paul Ardenne. His next work, Art contemporain - Just in Time, La création contemporaine au tournant du XXième siècle, will underline this notion of a flux in tension, of the extreme rapidity and reactivity that characterises the manner of being at work in our era.

The Working Men project will give rise to a publication, this will be the fruit of the reflection of the two exhibition commissioners – Paul Ardenne and Barbara Polla – but also that of the artists and of the series of participants who will come to enrich the discussion. The exhibition, which is destined to travel, grants a great importance to time and to encounters as they serve to permanently enrich its aim.

With : Kris Van Assche, Conrad Bakker, Mike Bouchet, Jean-Baptiste Farkas, Marc Horowitz, Ali Kazma, Tuomo Manninen, Aernout Mik, Robert & Shana Parke Harrison, John Pilson, Julien Prévieux, Mario Rizzi, Zoe Sheehan Saldaña, Eli Stertz, Larry Sultan, Superflex, Antanan Sutkus, Jeanine Woollard and Marc Dorcel Production

Curated by Paul Ardenne and Barbara Polla