“Art is a history of doing nothing and a long tale of useful action,” writes Liam Gillick at the beginning of his essay on the work for e-flux.1 In the sentence, he has expressed a fundamental contradiction of artistic work. Art results from a specific kind of work – a very free freelance profession, free of dictates of the exploiting employer that the artist has to conform to. On the other hand, Gillick fittingly reminds us that the artist becomes a worker who barely makes a distinction between herself/himself and the devouring desire of constant toil without a rest or free weekend.
But to deal with the very nature of the artistic precariat would not be as interesting; that is the way artists have been working for many years. But what if we compare the welfare of artists to the contemporary work and situation of precarized workers, trainees, PhD students, migrants, etc.? Can the artistic vocation serve as a mirror to the changes of the contemporary world of labour? This question plays an important role in Barbora Kleinhamplová’s work.