Pilvi Takala is one of the most successful new-generation artists in Finland. Second Shift is an exhibition featuring six of her video works dating from the past decade.
The unwritten rules of communities are a recurring theme in the art of Takala, therefore the dynamics of work environments often provide the setting for her work.
Takala infiltrates various communities by posing undercover. Through quietly challenging their accepted behaviours, she uncovers and renegotiates what is deemed appropriate. Her works examine how we deal with implicit rules and unspoken boundaries; and how we may express consent with and without words.
The term “Second Shift” was coined in the 1980s to describe the unrecognised domestic work, primarily done by women, in addition to their actual paid jobs. The artist points out that today this is more commonly referred to as “emotional labour”. This can mean anything from cleaning up after others to being treated like a therapist or mediating conflicts in the workplace.
For those who are expected to provide emotional labour, it is work that goes largely unappreciated and uncompensated. Labelling this as a form of labour blurs the boundaries between work and not work, between what we choose to give and what is expected of us. Through employing emotional labour as an artistic method, Takala addresses the complexity inherent in setting individual boundaries when the common boundaries themselves are unstable.
Pilvi Takala (b. 1981, Helsinki) lives in Helsinki and Berlin. She graduated with an MA from Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts in 2006. She received the Finnish State Prize for Visual Arts and Frieze London’s Emdash Award in 2013. This is Takala’s first solo exhibition in a Finnish museum.