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Workers die but work lives on -
Workers die but work lives on -
Workers die but work lives on -
Workers die but work lives on -
Workers die but work lives on -
Workers die but work lives on -
Workers die but work lives on -

Workers die but work lives on

This exhibition and publication sets out to present the artistic depiction of work and labour – starting with the glory years of this theme, then tracing its subsequent degradation, followed by a period in which it was marginalized and neglected, and finally its gradual re-emergence on the art scene. The exhibition will not offer a nostalgic vision of work; it will instead seek to rehabilitate the notion of work as an artistic theme, offering a critical evaluation of it and presenting it (to both experts and non-experts) as a topic that has some form of relevance to every human being. The exhibition will show how artists historically dealt with themes of work and labour as well as tracing the legacy this art has left – both in the narrower region and on the wider art scene.

 The individual parts of the exhibition will showcase various aspects of work and labour, including artists’ depictions of different professions – from industry and trade to agriculture and intellectual endeavours – demonstrating how Czech artists’ treatment of these themes has evolved during the 20th century and up to the present day, and encompassing sculpture, painting, photography, and architectural ornament. From the initial notion of work as a necessity, the emphasis has gradually shifted to an enchantment with new technologies and ultimately to contemporary interpretations centering on the notion that art can provide insights into the everyday life of past societies, tracing the evolution of technologies and applying the principle of the “last working day” to preserve our knowledge of working practices and crafts that are nowadays obsolete or largely forgotten. 

Exhibition concept: Renata Skřebská
Texts: Renata Skřebská
Contemporary art consultant: Jan Kudrna
Architectural design consultant: Miloš Matěj
Editors: Jana Malášek Šrubařová, Magdaléna Staňková
Photographs: scener GVUO, Jan Brodský, Viera Gřondělová, Zdeněk Matyásko, Oto Palán, Roman Polášek, Robert Portel, Luděk Prošek, Zdeněk Sodoma, Luděk Wünsch.  Reproductions without identification of the artist were provided by the institutions whose collections contain those works.
English translation: Christopher Hopkinson
Graphic design: Katarína Jamrišková
Print: Tiskárna Helbich, Brno
Print run: 400 copies
Published by the Gallery of Fine Arts in Ostrava, 2020


© Galerie výtvarného umění v Ostravě, 2020

ISBN 978-80-87405-55-0

Catalogue for the exhibition “Workers die but work lives on”, held at the Ostrava Gallery of Fine Arts from 23 September 2020 to 3 January 2021 in collaboration with the National Heritage Institute (Ostrava branch).

 The project is financially supported by the Ministry of Culture.

 The exhibition includes film materials provided by: the National Archives, fond T. G. Masaryk Water Research Institute (p. r. i.), Prague, sign. K16–43 (Water reservoir Orlik – construction); the Provincial Archives in Opava – the Vítkovice a. s. Archives, fonds “Vítkovice Mining and Iron Company” – movies no. 3–6, 7, 11, 22, 25–29, 31.

144 pages, 184 reproductions
in Czech and English

Product code: K0273
© 2017 Galerie výtvarného umění v Ostravě
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