The first major UK exhibition of Mika Rottenberg’s arresting and comically disturbing video works will be shown in three of our four galleries. Visitors will view them in specially created installations which create conditions as claustrophobic and absurd as those endured by the women workers she portrays.
Her videos explore labour – particularly repetitive women’s work. Her glamorous and oddly erotic workers are squeezed into sweatshops – often literally. Bodily fluids are sometimes part of the production process, where lo-fi machinery and Heath Robinson-like contraptions produce uncertain goods.
Rottenberg’s work plays with the manufactured aesthetic of the beauty salon – hair, nails, bellies, bums and breasts become autonomous objects. Her models are often out of the ordinary, such as the formidable Queen Raqui and the statuesque erotic model Bunny Glamazon. Rottenberg is interested in the dynamic between the exhibitionist and the voyeur. Her art works hint at power relations and reversals. A self-avowed feminist, she has said her work started with Marx.
Mika Rottenberg was born in 1976 in Buenos Aires and now lives in New York.
The exhibition is a collaboration with de Appel arts centre in Amsterdam.