NO TALKING//NO READING//NO DRAWING
16th February 2019 10:00 – 17:00
A group show of ‘works on paper’ covertly made by art gallery invigilators and museum guards during work hours.
RULES: NO TALKING//NO WRITING//NO READING//NO DRAWING//NO CHEWING GUM//CLEAN BLACK UNIFORM//BLACK OR BROWN SHOES
For this exhibition Invigilator Research Network has asked fellow invigilators to submit drawings and writings produced while on shift. The display of these works interrogates the hidden activities taking place during work hours and addresses labour conditions and widespread hierarchical practices of surveillance and regulation within art galleries.
The job of an invigilator is to watch over the visitors and art works in an exhibition and is essential to the running of most major cultural institutions in the UK. These jobs often attract individuals with creative backgrounds and new arts graduates, drawn to these roles for the cultural environment and likeminded colleagues, while they pursue their creative practice on the side. However, workplace participation in these cultural environments is often strictly defined by upper management. The rules listed above indicate these restrictive conditions and are lifted from spoken and written communications directed at gallery workers. Officially, it is a reactive, unproductive position, in which the worker is asked to refrain from interacting with colleagues or visitors unless discussing gallery policy. Reading, writing, drawings are similarly discouraged at many institutions. Many of these jobs are also precarious zero-hour contracts, leaving thousands of workers in the cultural sector with no guaranteed income.
Despite strict workplace regulation of body and mind, time spent on the job can become fruitful ground. The hours at work can be utilized twofold: both earning a wage and developing an artistic discourse, which tackles institutional hierarchies and the roles artists play within museums and galleries, as both exhibitors and invigilators. Many of the works on paper here are exhibited anonymously, to avoid jeopardising ongoing employment.
Invigilator Research Network teams up with Peoples Private Equity to exhibit this work and signal the beginnings of a more public discourse.