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GIBCA • Liam Gillick
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Liam Gillick

Construction of One: a manuscript (2005–)

Construction of One began as a working title for various reflections on modes of production within late industrial contexts at the moment mass labour was on the verge of being replaced by automated systems. Beginning in 2005 with a sequence of exhibitions, films, theoretical texts and publications Construction of One is now a substantial manuscript of 45,000 words. The unpublished text includes an appendix which contains two lengthy analytical papers on the revised working practices deployed by Volvo in the early 1970s. While the manuscript as a whole is not about Volvo at any specific moment it frequently returns to the theme of a site of production of large consumer goods (probably cars) in northern Europe at some point towards the end of the twentieth century. The starting point of the work was a consideration of what might  happen when there is crisis in a culture where there is not supposed to be a crisis. While avoiding precise documentary strategies in favor of interwoven narratives, structural speculations and eco-political fantasies the texts are (un)surprisingly prescient in light of recent collapses of the bank credit system and the increasing hold of nationalist politicians within the context of supposedly solid northern european social democracies with evolved and permanent values solidly entwined with »enlightened« labour practices. From the critical perspective of the advanced art context these developments were not a surprise while Construction of One as a whole can be read in the context of earlier texts such as Erasmus is Late in its attempts to frequently return to moments of turning point or stress that appear to be masked or unrecognized in isolation from a contradictory context of apparently stable exceptionalism from the ravages of piratical capital. Bearing in mind the history of post-modern skepticism about classical Marxist focus upon the ethics of labor, Construction of One is repetitious, inconsistent and permanently unfinished. Sections of the book with be read during the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art and published in English and Swedish at a later date.

Biography Born 1964 in England. Lives and works in USA. Liam Gillick’s solo exhibitions include: the retrospective project Three Perspectives and a short scenario, Witte de With, Rotterdam; Kunsthalle Zurich; Kunstverein, München and the MCA, Chicago, 2008-2010. Gillick has published a number of texts that function in parallel to his artwork. Proxemics (Selected writing 1988-2006) JRP-Ringier was published in 2007 alongside the monograph Factories in the Snow by Lilian Haberer, JRP-Ringier. A critical reader titled Meaning Liam Gillick, was published by MIT Press 

(2009). Liam Gillick was selected to represent Germany for the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. A major exhibition of his work opened at the Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in April 2010. 

Photo: Hendrik Zeitler