Amalia Pica’s exhibition Round table (and other forms) was recently shown at Zurich’s Museum Haus Konstruktiv. The show came as part of her 2020 Zurich Art Prize. The pieces address the current reevaluation of office life in light of the pandemic. Haus Konstruktiv Director Sabine Schaschl explained more about the project in conversation with Shifting Vision.
Schaschl said that organising the show was already underway when both the museum and the artist realised that the COVID-19 crisis was changing peoples’ relationship to work and office life.
‘We have certainly all realised that flying and a lot of moving is not really that necessary. Achieving a work-life balance by having more people working from home has simply advanced what we were thinking already,’ Schaschl said. ‘People don’t need to use their cars to drive to work as much, so there’s an ecological benefit too.’
Pica is known for playful, minimalist and multilayered work in different mediums, including installation, sculpture, drawing, film, and performance. The artist is interested in communication of all sorts — whether verbal or nonverbal.
‘Amalia was already working with the iconography of offices. For example, she has done drawings where she used office stamps. She has a lot of these drawings, and for the exhibition she has developed these into a performance piece,’ Schaschl said.
The exhibition explored the monotony of office work and the numbing structure of bureaucracy. The first two floors of the museum featured various office objects, such as A4 papers and office stamps.
Specially made office tables mounted on rollers and in different colours were shifted in the space, creating different patterns each day. Museum guards did the shifting, which fits into Pica’s artistic doctrine of civic participation.
‘The shifting tables are exactly what we have been doing all year – shifting our work desks to our home desks, and shifting our perception of the overall system of work,’ Schaschl said.
With special thanks to Museum Haus Konstruktiv.