Soul and Feelings of a Worker (Version 2)

Artist: KP Brehmer
painting | emulsion paint and pencil on paper | 420x289xeachmm | 1978

With training in graphics and printmaking, KP Brehmer experimented with ways of visualizing the abstract processes of global capitalism, and addressed the commoditization of art. Using common information systems as templates – figures and charts from educational books and magazines, maps and graphics from sociological studies –he linked data management to the operations of capital. Soul and Feelings of a Worker is aresponse to Rexford B. Hersey’s 1932 book, Workers’ Emotions in Shop and Home. In the book, Hersey sketches out a set of criteria for studying workers’ state of mind during the process of production. Following Hersey’s principles for more than a year and using a specific color for different states of mind, KP Brehmer developed a schema showing scales of time versus mood and temperament. The study is based on the emotional life of one selected worker and indirectly, his attitude towards the nature of work and its conditions. Brehmer’s methodology also closely aligns with the ways in which businesses have sought to quantify the personal capacities of their employees, showing how artwork is a model kind of work in today’s economy.


The 10th Shanghai Biennale - Social Factory | 2014.11.23 - 2015.03.31 | Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum(Shanghai, China)