Working Hours

A Maior in collaboration with Teghan Burt, Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi, Soshiro Matsubara, Spencer Lai, Ana Santos and Cici Wu
Postponed. Date TBC.

Elisa is sleeping. A nurse comes in and, with her smartphone, takes a photo of her. Meanwhile, Constança is talking to Marta and the latter says she has already done a psych evaluation for Elisa. The psychologist asks about Constança’s children and she lies, telling her they went traveling. Dulce comes in furious because of the slap she received from Elena, and Cátia shows her a photo of Elisa in the clinic. In the meantime, Sebastião, Gonçalo and Matilde come to the clinic, go to Elisa’s room and free her. The three siblings run away from the clinic with Elisa. Later, already at home, Elisa hugs Sofia while sobbing, afraid she could die. Meanwhile, Carlos calls the Prosecutor asking for an arrest warrant for Constança. A year later, Francisca works at the Foundation, replacing Olívia who’s on maternity leave. Elisa is studying Fine Arts. Dulce is waiting for Bruno who’s leaving the prison.

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‘Working hours’ is a standard term that describes the period of time usually spent at work. Read literally, it could be understood as the ‘hours that work’: the hours that go to work, the hours that do the work, or the hours that are the work. This exhibition attempts to present an unravelling of ‘work’ and the passage of time, by bringing together a cluster of idiosyncrasies that problematise literal, singular and conventional approaches to illustrating labour.

Working Hours is a project by A Maior in collaboration with Auto Italia, bringing together works by Teghan Burt, Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi, Soshiro Matsubara, Spencer Lai, Ana Santos and Cici Wu. A Maior is a clothing and home furnishing store run by artist Bruno Zhu’s family, located on the outskirts of Viseu, Portugal. Since 2016, it has hosted a programme of solo and group exhibitions within the shopping environment. Influenced by the transactional nature of its site, the curatorial programme unpacks relationships between goods and people in order to draw an intimate portrait of the commodity and the various subjects orbiting it, including the artist’s family and the store’s employees.

Working Hours departs from A Maior’s investigation into the shop space as a discursive and multifaceted construction. Through sculpture, image-making, garments and sound, the exhibition prioritises the topsy-turvy logic of display and material of the commercial space. This constellation of overlapping statements, contradictory remarks and abstracted commentary will attempt to rephrase the daily happenings of A Maior in a way that is never too sentimental, too cerebral, too blatant, too timid or too mechanical.

Working Hours has been made possible with the generous support from Headline Exhibition Supporters Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and London Community Foundation. Additional partners include Austrian Cultural Forum London, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Mondriaan Fonds. Learning and engagement supported by Big Lottery, Tower Hamlets Art and Music Education Services, Tower Hamlets Council Local Community Fund 2019-23 and US Embassy in London.