Work Never Stops. Project in the framework of the 4th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art

November 9, 2017 — January 21, 2018
Tyumen Museum and Education Association

Work Never Stops

Name for the project “Work Never Stops” is a paraphrased title of Eliza Bennett’s work called “A Woman’s Work Is Never Done”. By using the technique of embroidery, she challenges the pre-conceived notion that “women’s work” is light and easy, and shows its effects. Hand carpet weaving, whether performed by a woman or a man, is a long, complex and time-consuming process. Creating carpets one after another, they weave their “carpet of life”. Generations of weavers change, but their work remains immutable and never stops. A variety of meanings behind the idea of a carpet and the process of its creation formed the basis of the project.

Theme of this year’s Ural Industrial Biennial — New Literacy — refers to the problem of borders between work and leisure in today’s technological world. For “shockworkers” of creative labor these borders are shifting. Just like weavers measured their time with carpets made, they measure time with projects. However, at the end of one, the production of the next begins, while the need to represent the project through the image of oneself in social and network spaces negates the boundary between private and public, work and leisure. Therefore, the metaphor of work that never stops is so relevant for today.

In various mythologies, subjects related to threads and weaving occupy a special place. All the goddesses of Destiny and Time were spinners and weavers. In ancient Greek mythology these were Moirai, among them Clotho was the one who spun the thread of human life. In the Roman, they correspond to Parcae, who determined fate of a child by spinning, measuring, and cutting the thread off. Myths about Ariadne’s saving thread, Arachne’s eternal weaving, and Penelope’s weaving and undoing the shroud, all belong to the same line. For them, time stops and work never does.

For centuries, carpet has been an integral part of human life. Carpet weaving was practiced not only in the East and Europe, but also in Central and South America, China, and India. For many countries it has been a whole layer of history, traditions, and culture. At different times, its purpose varied, but mostly it served to decorate and insulate the house. Carpets were brought from all over the world, served as gifts and heritage; having it in a family determined its prosperity. Gradually, it became a subject of art and luxury. For all Soviet families, a photo on the background of the carpet was an indispensable ritual. We still identify it with interior from the Soviet past. As a sign of a bygone era, the carpet on the wall leaves an empty space, but its image remains an imprint in the memory.

Bright original Tyumen carpet is easily recognized, floral ornament on a black background referring to the motives of earthly and paradise gardens. In families involved in carpet weaving, the skills were passed from one generation to the other, yet each craftswoman bringing something of her own into the traditional motif. Carpet itself has been bearer of traditions and part of ritual.

Contemporary artists often turn to handicraft and carpet in particular. For some, the carpet acts as a universal symbol of tradition which they seek to rethink or deconstruct, either as a form or as symbols and architypes of the place embedded in it. Fabric preserves memory, and artists reveal personal or family aspects of it in their works. Carpet can be a means of defining borders between private and public space that artists call into question and try to shift.

For some, handicraft is a kind of meditation, where the process itself is more important than the result. The ritual of repetition and extended time of creating an artwork open temporal boundaries that are measured by the process of the author’s work. Often handicraft acts as a universal tool for visualizing time. Yet, storing information about the universal tradition, it universalizes and anonymizes the author.

Time is measured by rituals that each of us performs. The exhibition offers different views on the speed of its flow, modes of interacting with it, and ways to resist oblivion.

Curator: Svetlana Usoltseva

Participants: Faig Ahmed (Azerbaijan), Tanya Akhmetgalieva (Russia), Eliza Bennett (UK), Anastasia Bogomolova (Russia), Farhad Farzaliyev (Azerbaijan), Alisa Gorshenina (Russia), Michele Giangrande (Italy), Irina Korina (Russia), Varvara Kuzmina (Russia), Vladimir Logutov (Russia), Zhenya Machneva (Russia), Alexandra Mitlyanskaya (Russia), Roman Mokrov (Russia), Nadenka creative association (Russia), Timur Novikov (Russia), Murat Palta (Turkey), Provmyza group (Russia), Timofey Radya (Russia), Farid Rasulov (Azerbaijan), Veronika Rudyeva-Ryazantseva (Russia), Svetlana Spirina (Russia), Olga Subbotina and Mikhail Pavlyukevich (Russia), Leonid Tishkov (Russia), Alexey Tregubov (Russia), Dmitry Tsvetkov (Russia), Where Dogs Run (Russia)

With support of Government of the Tyumen region

Co-Organizer Tyumen Museum and Education Association

Partners Sparta Curators Collective, X-IST Gallery, YAY Gallery, Double Tree by Hilton Tyumen

Architect: Mikhail Leykin

Assistant to Curator: Dmitry Ryabkov (Ekaterinburg)

Coordinators: Pavel Sidorov (Tyumen), Kirill Gruzdov (Tyumen)

PR-Coordinators: Tina Garnik (Ekaterinburg), Anton Nikolaev (Tyumen)