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

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Josh Kline

US, b.1979

 

Saving Money with Subcontractors (FedEx Worker’s Hand with Pad), 2015 (Blue Collars)

3D-printed sculpture in plaster, ink jet ink, moulded urethane foam, styrofoam (packing peanuts), card, and MDF. Edition of 3 plus II AP

Courtesy of the artist and 47 Canal

 

About the work

The work by the American artist Josh Kline is a FedEx parcel. However, the content of this parcel is different than the parcels normally received by most of us – sent to consumers in ever increasing numbers during the corona pandemic when online shopping exploded. The parcel contains the remnants of a couple of FedEx delivery men. Three severed lower arms lie across the parcel with a couple of FedEx forms ready to be signed on delivery. The three severed hands are 3D-printed copies, one skin-coloured and the other two an uncanny grey colour, hardly human. The rest of the content beneath the sea of plastic filler is concealed from view.

 

Context

Very topical in the aftermath of the global pandemic, the work points to a delivery system still handled by human beings when parcels are sent across the world. Will this continue or will the work be taken over by robots or drones in the long term?

 

In this work, the FedEx delivery man is a so-called service worker, belonging to the large group of blue-collar production workers who typically perform physically hard work compared to white-collar workers, who typically work at an office in front of a screen. These dated concepts from the industrialisation still haunt us today where uniforms and dress-code continue to define who you are and your place in society. Both types of jobs are important in the great global market-driven economy, but conditions and life are vastly different in terms of education, working conditions, and pay.