You’re Never Done
Curated by Thomas Abercromby and Holly Takenzire
Fri 11–Sun 27 June 2021 Open Daily 12:00–18:00
Adelita Husni-Bey | Gabecare (Rachel Adams & Tessa Lynch) | Glasgow Open Dance School (G.O.D.S) | Harriet Rose Morley | Tara Marshall-Tierney
You’re Never Done is a group exhibition featuring work by local and international artists exploring invisible narratives of labour within our cities.
The exhibition was originally inspired by Glasgow’s public washhouses, known as ‘Steamies’, and the wages for housework movement, which was a grassroots women’s network who campaigned for recognition and payment for all care work in domestic settings and beyond. Conceived of pre-Covid, the project was to take the form of an active, collaborative space where people and artists could gather to address the gendered division of labour and visibility within working-class communities.
Run by the City Council, Steamies provided washing facilities for industrialised communities across Glasgow. Steamies were constructed for women to carry out domestic work in order to provide washing facilities after a public outcry for sanitation reform in the city. Within these public spaces, women carried out physically demanding unwaged domestic work that went unseen within wider society. While these intimately familiar architectures exploited women’s labour, they provided a valuable social space that supported conversation, community building and solidarity. The Steamie is used within the context of this exhibition as a historical reference to the ways in which women’s labour has gone and continues to go unseen, while at the same time mimicking the valuable social space they provided by supporting a network of women artists and women in the North of Glasgow.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, we are still sadly unable to gather at this time in the ways we initially imagined. However, we believe the exhibition has even more relevance to the current times we live in. The sudden shift in the working practices of many people and the recontextualisation of what we consider “essential work” has provided a critical opportunity to recognise that the world’s economies and the maintenance of our daily lives are built on the invisible and often unpaid labour of women.
Presenting work by Adelita Husni-Bey, Gabecare (Rachel Adams & Tessa Lynch) Glasgow Open Dance School (G.O.D.S), Harriet Rose Morley and Tara Marshall-Tierney, You’re Never Done transforms the disused Springburn Museum into a platform that encourages the public to see, hear and question the gendered division of labour through a variety of di erent mediums such as sound, lm, archive, installation and sculpture.
The exhibition takes its name from the rhymed couplet: ‘Man may work from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done.’ This idiom implies that we have long been aware of how our capitalist patriarchal society exploits the labour of women, yet we still choose to ignore it. You’re Never Done attempts to make this labour visible while at the same time exploring and discovering new ways in which we may collectively value and reimagine the fruits of our labour.
In the pink room, Gabecare (Rachel Adams & Tessa Lynch) have produced new sculptural works including several mirrored cabinets and two oversized fabric cleaning product packets. Household tasks can play on the mind and become overwhelming. Re ecting this, Gabecare’s sculptures play with the scale of domestic objects, shrinking them down or blowing them out of proportion to bring out the irrationality, humour, and endlessness of everyday labour. Gabecare is a collaborative art project which investigates the domestic mess of 21st-century living through art and design objects. – words Thomas Abercromby and Holly Takenzire