‘Werker 2 — A Gestural History of the Young Worker’ will premiere at the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Werker Collective compiled this publication during an art residency in the Urals—the Soviet industrial heartland—where the strong, athletic bodies of workers, with severe and determined faces, firm and coordinated gestures, were once celebrated in painting, sculpture, and photography. The Soviet visual glorification of the worker and labour rested upon the Marxist dialectical imperative to overcome alienation between different elements of social structure, namely the gap between physical and intellectual labour. In early Soviet political vocabulary, the word smychka indicated this drive towards collaboration and union in society. Werker Collective, simultaneously inspired by emancipatory politics of the international labour movement and by the body liberationist politics of the radical queers and feminists, offers yet another kind of smychka, that is a utopian synthesis of work and desire.
12/09-1/12/2019 Ural Optical and Mechanical Plant
Ekaterinburg, 33b Vostochnaya Street.
5th Ural Industrial Biennial