December 3rd, 2008
Artist: Sharon Lockhart
Venue: Secession, Vienna
Exhibition Title: LUNCH BREAK
Date: November 21, 2008 – January 18, 2009
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy Secession, Vienna. Installation views by Pez Hejduk.
Over the last 15 years US-American artist Sharon Lockhart has made films and photographs that frame moments of everyday life while exploring the subtle relationships between the two mediums. Shown for the first time at the Secession, Lockhart’s latest films and accompanying photographic series describe a specific place and time: Maine’s Bath Iron Works at the start of the 21st century. Lockhart spent the last year looking at the lives of workers in the historic shipyard and each of the five projects included in the exhibition examines a different element of their everyday experience.
In the Hauptraum Lockhart will install the film LUNCH BREAK. LUNCH BREAK features 42 workers as they take their midday break in a corridor stretching nearly the entire shipyard. Contrary to her previous films, the camera is untethered and, as it slowly moves down the corridor, we experience what was a brief interval in the workday schedule expanded into a sustained gaze. Lined with lockers, the hallway seems not only an industrial nexus but also a social one, its surfaces containing a history of self- expression and customization. Over the course of the lunch break we see workers engaged in a wide range of activities–reading, sleeping, talking–in addition to actually eating their midday meal. The soundtrack is a composition designed in collaboration with composer Becky Allen and filmmaker James Benning, in which industrial sounds, music, and voices slowly merge and intertwine. Together, picture and sound provide an extended meditation on a moment of respite from productive labor.
Alongside the projection Lockhart will exhibit three suites of photographs: a set of tableaus in which workers interact around both makeshift and institutional dining tables, a collection of the various independent businesses workers have established to provide coffee, hot dogs, candy bars and snacks, and series of more formalized portraits of the workers’ lunch boxes. In each case, the worker is both framed by and frames the work place.
The last element in the exhibition is the fittingly titled EXIT. Filmed over a five-day workweek, each of the five takes that comprise EXIT shows the long progression of workers leaving the Bath Iron Works at the end of their shift. Each take starts with a title card stating the day of the week, and then begins a daily routine that varies greatly from day to day. Reminiscent of Louis Lumiere’s film, Leaving the Lumiere Factory, EXIT em- phasizes the flow of time and the nuances of daily experience.