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Anniversary Sponsor 2022

 

Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg
Kong Christians Allé 50
9000 Aalborg
Denmark

Phone: +45 99 82 41 00
kunsten@kunsten.dk
CVR: 47 21 82 68
EAN: 5798003745718

 

Danske Bank

Regnr.: 4368 Kontonr.: 3402 188 898 

Adelita Husni-Bey

IT, b.1985

 

Necessary Work, 2021

Courtesy of the artist and Laveronica Arte Contemporanea

 

About the work

Who are the people ready to work in situations of crisis? In this new work created specifically for Work it Out, the Italian-Libyan artist Adelita Husni-Bey examines the working conditions of nurses. In general terms, but also during the corona pandemic. The installation comprises three photos and a three-screen video work like a triptych in a church. Metal chains hang from the ceiling and the entire room is bathed in a toxic green LED light. At first glance, the video work just recalls a very ordinary Zoom meeting, a meeting form now familiar to most, introduced as a new digital tool during Covid-19, but it quickly becomes evident that what we are witnessing is no ordinary meeting, but an art project.

 

Via repeated online workshops, Husni-Bey has worked with Danish and American nurses, who discussed what it means to occupy a vital function in society and do critical work. The nurses took the three framed snapshots with their mobile phones. They show sculptures which they made themselves at a workshop with the artist as a means to creatively process their work situation. The video is a combination of video footage from the digital workshops and the nurses’ own footage. Across two continents, the videos record the nurses’ working conditions and the challenges facing them at work – perhaps not all that different.
 

Husni-Bey has worked both as a pedagogue and an artist and her artistic practice is based on human encounters – an encounter and a process, which are just as important to her art as the product and the physical work of art. She believes that a critical pedagogical approach and dialogue will enable her to make changes. When she invites others to take part in her artistic processes, she always shares her income with the participants when the work is subsequently sold.

 

Context

With her work, the artist wants to focus on our changed view of critical work in light of the pandemic and how society values this work. Her work specifically addresses the nurses’ need to contribute to something that goes beyond themselves and to make a difference to people in a capitalist society focusing on innovation and growth. Thus, the work analyses critical jobs in our society, questioning how the future might look for critical job functions such as the police, pedagogues, cleaning staff, and care and health personnel.

 

The work specifically frames questions about working conditions in the health sector, but many of these questions could be relevant in many jobs: what is the most important when we assess our jobs: pay, recognition, working hours, or nice colleagues?

 

Encounters of Pain, 2018-2021

Courtesy of the artist and Laveronica Arte Contemporanea

 

About the work

Large pieces of paper are hanging from the ceiling in the dimly lit room. The numerous sheets of paper carry outlines of human figures, recalling children’s early drawings of the contours of the human body. Copious notes are scribbled all around these, attesting to the process preceding the work on show.

 

With her sculptural work Encounters of Pain, Adelita Husni-Bey directs focus at the injuries we sustain through our working lives. Injuries spanning mental strain to physical scars on our bodies. The work is constantly expanding when Husni-Bey repeats her process from country to country and from one exhibition to the next. Via a series of workshops, the artist talks with people who have been on the labour market for a long time and at each workshop, a number of these new ‘body banners’ are created, illustrating where someone’s working life hurts now – or did earlier.

 

Husni Bey’s radical, critical pedagogical methods are inspired by the Brazilian pedagogue Paulo Freire. She emphasises the collective process, wanting to point out the human issues in an otherwise individualised, capitalist society.

 

Context

A long working life leaves its marks. Both in terms of good experience and as an influence which, in the long term, may be destructive for both body and mind. We spend much of our time working and this is where many people experience meaning in their lives but also major wear and tear and, for some, lack of meaning. It can lead to a deterioration of mental health in the form of stress or cause physical wear of the body. The physical wear is the easier one to trace and register. This is evident in Danish working environment legislation where cases concerning pressure of work and unreasonable workload are only rarely sanctioned.