13.08.2020 – 20.09.2020
Russian National Decorative Art Museum, Moscow
Vasya Zharkoy and Anastasiya Pozhidaeva
Ivan Napreenko and Natalya Nikulenkova
From August to November 2020, the Russian National Decorative Art Museum hosts a two-part research exhibition on labor and leisure, 15 Minute Break. The first part is dedicated to labor and takes place from August 14 to September 20; the second part explores the transformations of leisure and opens on October 1, 2020.
The title, 15 Minute Break, is a reference to practices of rest and restoration that we usually slot into 15-minute openings. On the other hand, this can be an unplanned gap in the rhythm of work that is hard to predict or forecast since it is not linked to astronomical time. The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns made us think about the passage of time. Unsurprisingly, labor and leisure turned out to be most the sensitive to impacts of such events.
15 Minute Break. Part 1 is a documentary exhibition: in its bulk it was conceived and put together before the pandemic, meaning that the featured works inevitably become artistic documents of the “past” era. However, it also features works by authors for whom reacting to the current situation of labor and reflecting immediately on unfolding events are part of their artistic practice. The exposition displays items from the collection of the Russian National Decorative Art Museum as well as projects by over 20 contemporary artists. Installations, video, canvases, drawings, modern sculpture and photography trace a route through major topics of the day: working time, office work, freedom and restriction of labor, the future of work, escape from the office, return to craftsmanship, material culture and visual poetics of labor, the individual in the age of digitalization.
A considerable part of the exhibition has been created by the artists specially for this project. In “search of lost time,” Elena Artemenko makes paper planes from marble. In Doers and Doings, Segey Novikov presents a photo diary of an office employee. In the new video Luxuriat, Anna Rotarenko reinvents the reality in light of overconsumption, global networks, corporations and unwillingness to work. In the historical triptych The Briefest History of Labor, Vladislav Kruchinsky contemplates the evolution of labor as a phenomenon.