The power of capitalism, unharnessed industry, lost dreams, oppressed desires, monotonous tones of everyday life, exhaustion, authoritarianism and objection are all themes on show at the Contemporary Art Museum's current expo.
The museum is housed inside a dramatic old bunker, which was near empty on my visit. Indeed, the only other visitors at time were a happy tourist with a big camera hanging from his neck and a middle-aged mother with her son, whose overstreched yawn was another painting itself. Perhaps that was due to the location, which is a few tram stops away from the old town. Or maybe it was because of the rather abstract and conceptual style of art on display.
Either way, it would have been nice to see a few more people going through the doors. It was a tad unfortunate to see a lack of people ready to support the exhibtion's independent and free thinking artists, who have dared to shed some light on ordinary working people. Their work very much goes against the grain in that it doesn't focus on huge social or historical events, or simply people of wealth, power or success.
The museum's booklet provides you with all the necessary information regarding the exhibition, giving you a brief insight into background of the the artists, as well as the paintings and the main themes and massages behind them.
The exhibition is very much centred on the relationship betwee between the employer and the employee, which in turn is shaped by the very same processes that influence the global markets (e.g. colonialism, industrialism and capitalism). These factors also shape the political landscape, migrant destinations and the state of the body and the mind.
The first part of the exhibition focuses on the impact of industrialization on contemporary labour relations, while the second talks up the subject of labour relations in relation to colonialism. Meanwhile the the third section of the exhibition looks more closely at the condition of individuals living in the capitalist system. The entire floor is devoted to works that cast a critical light on the social norms and values that discipline our bodies and minds.
The exhibition includes works of artists from different parts of the world, including many European countries as well as Cuba, Israel, Columbia, Argentina, Angola, the USA, Canada and Peru. The artists different backgrounds also help to bring different styles and methods to the table.
One aspect that's not really reflected in the exhibition's website or booklet however, is the building itself. Dark but contrasted by harsh, cold blue and red lights, the circular corridors are connected by narrow stairways that foster the confusion and despair of the artworks displayed in the surrounding environment.
If that all sounds rather drab – don't be put off. Being in and around this new wave of creativity makes for a fascinating evening; the artworks aren't just about a combination of colours, techniques or patterns, but about engaging audiences with all elements of our urban lives. Therefore it is somewhat regretful that there doesn't to be too many visitors heading to the exhibition. It truly would be interesting to see the effects of the artists' ideas reflected in the faces and reactions of those strolling through the building.
For those interested in the exhibition, it will remain on show at the Contemporary Art Museum until the 27th of March 2017. The place is well worth a visit, just as Pierce Brosnan found out earlier this month.