10 July – 01 September, 2017
Super Dakota is delighted to present a vinyl piece by Canadian artist Gareth Long.
The piece will be on view throughout the summer.
“What is work? Is it a HERB?”
ARTISTS: […] What they do can’t be called work.
What does it mean for a gallery to be on vacation? Since what they – as an extension of what artists do – isn’t really work, what are they holidaying from?
Here I am picking up a thread from previous works that deal with questions of the location of work and labour in artistic practice.
The imagery of the window installation is from a 1914 version of the London Underground map drawn by MacDonald Gill at a time when the service was flagging and failing. Originally called By Paying Us Your Pennies, the map became colloquially known as the Wonderground Map, as people used to miss trains because they were so caught up in looking at the map. It is a mixture of cartoon, fantasy, and topological accuracy and became an instant hit with the travelling public; using solely primary colours, London appears as a medieval town in a medieval map (for instance, using a decorative cursive script and dotting chivalric shields around the edge), with contemporary aspects interspersed, combined with satirical commentary on acccent, class and social mobility that were major preoccupations of 1914 London, and, arguably, still are today. Adopting this essential feature of mass popular culture, Gill filled the map with humorous quips and commentary, delivered in the vernacular of the city. On the Harrow Road, a farm worker tilling the soil cries ‘Harrowing work, this!’ an exclamation which is countered by the query ‘What is work, is it a herb?’ delivered by an effete gentleman nearby.
Presenting something so unabashedly British in a Brussels window at this particular political moment, takes on a certain gravity. Perhaps this is made all the more biting in that the main figure pictured in the imagery presents the Brits as being completely out of touch, and unaware of how work works (or perhaps, how Brexit negotiations work).
- Gareth Long