WORK presents new works by Angela Grossmann that explore the subject of labour, its history, its changing nature, our essential need for it, and, possibly most pressing in our current time, its precarity. Throughout her career, Grossmann has sought to re-dress injustices in the social fabric by transforming historic photography, intended as a means of social control, into images of empowerment. Grossmann works with images of the marginalized, the misunderstood, and dispossessed from a deeply feminist point of view. WORK brings to the fore our relationship to our jobs and our struggle to move within its social confines when expressing our identity, desires, and individuality, “the who we are through what we do.”
The re-make is at the heart of Grossmann’s undertaking. She has snipped, torn, and pasted together her archive of anonymous snapshots creating what appears to be a collapse in time. In doing so, she has brought the past to bear on the present in an effort to make a better future. Clothing and uniforms have traditionally acted to categorize us, to allow recognition—from maids to generals we instantly recognize these social codes and act accordingly. Some of Grossmann’s workers present a sense of pride, confidence, and assertiveness in their chosen jobs.
For others, Grossmann has captured the resentment that is felt working a daily routine that furnishes few rewards. However, Grossmann’s workers defeat any simple understanding of the assumption of pre-determined social roles that occasion the adoption of dress codes or even the feigning of employment duties. Grossmann accomplishes this feat through her uncanny ability to create believable characters that point out the un-self-conscious ways that the work we do determines our being.
Location: 1529 West 6th Ave–Unit 110, Vancouver
By appointment during the Festival please contact [email protected]