Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Touching Maintenance

Lecture and Talk

The pioneering practice of feminist and multidisciplinary artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles focuses on the existential necessity and endlessness of everyday care work – be it in the private sphere, the city or the landfill. In her Manifesto for Maintenance Art (1969), she radically declared maintenance work to be art. She has been artist in residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation since 1977 and has been engaging with urban waste flows ever since.

On the occasion of the closing of the exhibition “The Great Repair”, she will talk about her extensive oeuvre live via video. Her lecture, the subsequent contribution by scholar Lisa Baraitser and joint discussion with curator Bettina Knaup will address the embodied, material and temporal dimensions of the (artistic) work for survival but also the necessity to care for the irreparable.

Since the late 1960s, Mierle Laderman Ukeles has foregrounded the life-sustaining value of everyday maintenance work. She has worked with countless maintenance-workers, with their materials and within their infrastructures, creating performances, exhibitions, sculptures, building-wide installations, work ballets, as well as sound and video works. Represented by Ronald Feldman Gallery, NYC, she exhibits and lectures internationally. Recently published books include Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Seven Work Ballets (exh. cat., 2015); Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Maintenance Art (exh. cat., 2016).

Lisa Baraitser is Professor of Psychosocial Theory in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. She is the author of Maternal Encounters: The Ethics of Interruption (2009) and Enduring Time (2017). She has written widely on motherhood, care, temporality, psychoanalysis and feminism. From 2017 to 2023 she was the Principal Investigator on the research project Waiting Times, that investigated the relation between time and care in the UK health service. She is a member of the British Psychoanalytical Society, and maintains a psychoanalytic practice in London.

Bettina Knaup, freelance curator and writer (Berlin), has (co-)curated numerous international festivals, exhibitions and projects, among them the performance and archive project re.act.feminism, which toured Europe from 2008 - 2013 and has been re-launched in 2022 in the frame of Manifesta 14 in Pristina. Based on her recently completed PhD at Roehampton University, London, Performing (as) Waste, she is currently preparing a collaborative artistic project engaging with waste infrastructures.

Sunday, 14 Jan 2024

11:30 am


Studio Lobby

Finissage The Great Repair

With Mierle Laderman Ukeles (live via video), Lisa Baraitser, Bettina Knaup

Curated by Bettina Knaup

In English

€ 6/4

Free admission with an exhibition ticket from 14 Jan