New Workwear Fashion
Installation: 6 Giclee Prints on Canvas, 76x41cm each; Video Film, 9min
Exhibited: Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, UK
Art Hall (Kunstihoone), Tallinn, Estonia
The enlargement of the European Union in 2004 led to a new wave of migration from the countries of the former Eastern Bloc to the UK. Unemployed professionals and skilled workers filled vacancies, performing dull duties in low-paid jobs, which British citizens did’t wish to carry out. While manufacturing, food packing, catering and serving customers etc workers have to wear protective clothes, which makes them look the same. In a real factory environment some workers try to adjust these clothes in order to look individual, often using materials they find in the working environment (e.g. stickers, markers).
Olga Jürgenson’s film By decorating protective clothes you hit at Capitalism! is an ironic version of the Teaching Art demonstration videotapes series. The artist performs demonstrating some ‘more artistic’ ways that protective clothes can be decorated in order to help workers look different from each other. She explains the use of paints for fabric, stencils, some other materials and techniques, advising on designs and explaining the aim of the project.
Olga also models the decorated uniforms in the style of ‘glamorous’ fashion magazine photographs.
The installation was a part of Blue-Collar Blues at Art Hall in Tallinn, Estonia, an international exhibition, which explored labour issues in the current situation of global crisis. Curated by Anders Härm; other participants included Francis Alÿs, Santiago Sierra, Oliver Ressler, Kennedy Browne and others.
The installation was also a part of Wysing Arts Contemporary: PERFORMED at Wysing Arts Centre, Bourn, Cambridge. Curated by Lotte Juul Petersen the exhibition presented works by 10 artists based in the East of England. Other participants included: Andy Holden, Elena Cologni, Simon Davenport and others.
During PERFORMED Jürgenson led a Fabric Design workshop, where the participants had an opportunity/were invited to realise their designs with fabric stenciling techniques on cotton shopping bags – creating comments on green issues and consumerism.
© Olga Jürgenson