A project by Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, curated by David Ashley Kerr
 Tom Roberts, Shearing the rams, 1890 Oil on canvas on composition board, 122.4 x 183.3 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia Felton Bequest, 1932 
 Jeff Wall, Volunteer, 1996 Silver Gelatin Print, 221.5 x 313 cm, Ed 1/2 + AP Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, on permanent loan to the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel
 Demelza Watts, All in a day, Brian (8 hours of my fathers labour). Installation, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2015 Courtesy the artist

The representation of physical labour in art has shifted from a historically aestheticised position toward something less tangible, less celebrated, and more dystopian in its critique of hyper-capitalism, and the new (and outdated) dynamics of economic production today.




The online platform WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK presents a variety of artistic and theoretical approaches regarding representations of labour in contemporary art and culture. With a nod to past representations, it maps the past to the present day – with a view to the future. Questioning how contemporary representations of labour differ from those of the past, it examines how the Fordist realities of workers underpinning the (current) cheap labour market are still on the periphery of our collective consciousness, despite (and perhaps due to) a shift to an increasingly techno-capitalist, immaterial, digital economy. The content traverses themes of class, race, gender, the non-human and the post-colonial condition, all within the context of current (and historical) labour, and global economic forces.

With contributions from a range of disciplines, mediums and positions, WORK manifests itself online as an experimental web platform. New content by commissioned artists, academics and thinkers will be regularly released online, as well as a range of related exhibitions, talks, publications and other relevant content. 




WORK is a project by curator David Ashley Kerr, facilitated by the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and supported by Kone Foundation. It officially launches on June 12 at Finnish curatorial agency PUBLICS.