Bene's new showroom is a cool design, but perhaps too cool, for the office to become the "hot spot" (the image that bene likes to market). The office where, besides careers, the whole bandwidth of (in) discretion and fine mechanics of erotic signals are transmitted, did not come through in past presentation. The Bene Art Consultant Manager Desiree Schellerer knew what to change and saw an opportunity in an independent project. She wanted co-operation and transparency of processes instead of decorative items hanging over the co-workers heads. By selecting Barbara Holub as an artist who, in her pervious works, performs investigations of aspects in the public sphere and theorizes such anthropological elements including suppression and desires.
The produced products are, beside other office furniture pieces, above all desks: meeting desks, work desks, computer desks, conference tables... found under most desks the quasi perfect parts of the human body for the progress of work: legs.
Barbara Holub staged, or better yet let the co-workers of bene produce: glimpses into the "under the table" happenings hidden in the daily office life. In nocturnal photo secessions outside of the office, fantasies were reacted. Barbara Holub "only" pressed the button and later mounted the photos onto to each other so as if to indicate bluntly flashed, somewhat overexposed and grainy paparazzi photos. Through the inclusion of the coworkers the participants became simultaneous actors and affected parties. They acted discretely within the possibilities. Naturally Holub achieves an over dramatization of the brittle daily office life by the unclear visual information, where generally legs suffer, crossed over each other for hours, and suffer from blood circulation disturbances or at least lack of movement. Or is it different with bene furniture? Holubs installation suggests the boundary between body control and wishes, between desire and suppression, or at least a plotted flickering.
The architectural condition of an "unused piece of wall' of the window front between the first and second floor was interpreted by Barbara Holub as screen: behind these gray strips are innumerable (coworkers) legs under many (Bene) desks. This screen became, through the mounting of photos on a lighted background, at the same time a project at an active distance: lighting up a filmstrip, short segments of a story, which consists of suggestions.
Holubs work style consists of understanding projects as a process and to present different results from the process. Thus besides the displayed filmstrip a video is shown on the facade, letting the coworkers speak about the project. Photos with scenes of the produced 'under the table happenings' with capturing, suspicious, as well as banal speech bubbles; 'today', 'trust me', 'I am not the woman you think I am?', 'give me a little time, darling' .....
In the video the coworkers try discretely to be "unconcerned", no pinpointing of their demands or desires, it is Holub's analytic view under other desks. The professional social codes, silent agreements over sexual associations are again demonstrated in the video. And: as one the coworker summarized, 'bene... also has something to say in the world of art'. (Suess)
(Suess, in: Medienkunstarchiv: /http://www.medienkunstarchiv.at/werk.php?vid=2021&e=1
One year later (1998) the artist produced a video, in which she collected the feedback to her project by the participants.
In 1999 Barbara Holub was invited to produce pieces for the interior space: Again she developed these pieces in a participatory process with the employees - in her exhibition at the Secession in Vienna, superimposing these images with images of her project at the Porsche Headquarters in Vienna, taking place at the same time. In both shows she questionded the roles of "being a child" and "being adult".
Bene SchauRaum, Vienna (A)
Secession Vienna, 1999
permanent installation on the facade and indoors (until 2014)
in collaboration with Bene employees
video: 13min mono color PAL
Blickle Video Collection