Exhibition Lockout presents artistic projects, which reveal hidden, or invisible, reality of labour as one of the most routine and important aspects of human life. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and transformations in the countries of Eastern Bloc, all areas of labour underwent major changes. The arrival of the so called free market, redistribution of property, economic crises, social security cuts – all this led to the enrichment the ones and put others on the edge of survival. Ukraine, along with other post socialist countries, turned into a cheap labour power market: in the East of the county industrial feudalism was established under the guise of corruption, while the whole generation from the West became seasonal workers in the EU. Being the means of survival, labour for our citizens is often at the same time a danger to life. Today, a large-scale social wound is open on the territory thrown into the war. Life has lost its importance and is not even worth a minimum living wage, because jobs, salaries, and pensions are left in the peaceful past.
Art in such a situation has to work as an open public investigator. Evidence of injustice, unemployment, and poverty appears every day in the multitude of information flows that are immediately displaced with advertising images of wealth. The role of an artistic work is in drawing ones attention to the most important and painful as well as articulating it before the viewers. When the state does not provide adequate standards of living, things are not called by their proper names, injustice illegally thrives, a person with a video camera or pencil becomes a witness and transmitter of the information. Every work in the project relates to a particular situation or event of labour, and its representation lies between ruthless documentation and metaphorical image. We can see how in Eastern Europe local phenomena correspond to the problems of the neighbouring countries. Working with those who are expelled from the world of wealth, artists make them visible. And this is the first step towards important changes.

*A lockout is a temporary work stoppage, or a termination of wage payment, initiated by an employer during a strike and labour dispute. Lockouts are illegal or strictly regulated in many countries, while in Ukraine they are not mentioned in any of the branches of law, which puts them in the range of events allowed without any restrictions. Not being legislated, a lockout as cancer attacks workers before they are ready to fight for their rights and turns into abandoned mines, closed factories, lack of jobs, poverty, and social vulnerability. Literal meaning of the term is a metaphor of this hopeless situation of a closed door behind which there is a possibility of dignified life.

Curators: Oksana Briukhovetska, Stanisław Ruksza.

Artists: Anatoliy Belov, Oksana Briukhovetska, Anna Fabricius, Rafał Jakubowicz, Taras Kamennoi, Lilia Li-mi-yan, Viktoria Lomasko, Yulia Mazurova, Anna Molska, Laura Pawela, Valentyna Petrova, Oleksiy Radynski, Mykola Ridnyi, Khaim Sokol, Iryna Stasyuk, Łukasz Surowiec, Piotr Wysocki.