Research Article

Transparent (Support) Structures: On Visibility and Social Reproduction in Socially Engaged Art


Drawing on materialist feminist theory, this article discusses Recleaning the Rietveld Pavilion (2017) by Alina Lupu and its relation to Job Koelewijn’s Cleaning of the Rietveld Pavilion (1992) and other important antecedents. In considering the ways in which maintenance work is articulated in the projects, and the people engaged in the realisation, I contend that it is possible to develop a critical analysis of how visibility is deployed in socially engaged art contexts. The argument focuses on art as a site of gendered labour and the subjectivities as well as forms of (social) work that it produces. Furthermore, the analysis explores the regime of hyper-visibility of contemporary art in contrast to the vast array of unrecorded economic activities, of which maintenance is an essential, yet not exclusive component, that ultimately contributes to reproducing an unsustainable system of work relations based on (self-)exploitation, reputational value and financial dependence.


2023 (1)

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