Why Is This Gallery Closed For All 5 Weeks Of Its Exhibition?

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 97 months ago

Last Updated 28 April 2016

Why Is This Gallery Closed For All 5 Weeks Of Its Exhibition?
This is what the gallery looks like at the moment - definitely closed. Photograph: Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate.

If you go to Chisenhale Gallery in Mile End over the next five weeks you'll find it closed. But it's not because an install is under way or they can't find any artists. This is the exhibition.

Or more precisely, Maria Eichhorn's exhibition called 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours. The gallery will remain closed for this amount of time.

The concept is that the show 'opened' with a symposium on the contemporary labour market. And will then remain closed until it 'ends'. It's questioning the nature of work in the modern world.

There's obviously a bit of tongue in cheek here, but it also opens the door to many questions that the exhibition can't hope to answer: do we need gallery staff? Could the roles be automated? Should we be doing more to question why many galleries pay staff low, or sometimes no, wages? While their directors don't ever seem shy of money?

It's a jumping off point for a wider discussion. But it does feel like more could have been done with the project. What will the staff do with their free time? Will their lives be any happier or productive for it? What happened to the people who would have visited the exhibition — what did they do with their time?

It's an exhibition that doesn't answer any questions, but is designed to get us thinking. We'll leave you to decide whether it's conceptual art gone mad or a show making a salient point about the nature of work.

Maria Eichhorn: 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours is 'on' at Chisenhale Gallery until 29 May. Any visitors will simply be met with a sign outside informing them of the project.

Art fans should also check out our most talked about exhibitions.