Núria Güell’s work reformulates and deals with the limits of legality, the analyses of ethics practiced by the Institutions that govern us detecting abuses of power committed through the established legality and hegemonic morality.
The work Afrodita is an installation that documents the artist’s request of the museum to use the production money for her project to pay her social security contribution for seven months, the minimum required to be eligible to receive maternity leave benefits. To this end, Güell drew up a model clause – which any artist can include in their contracts – stipulating that the institution would assume the artist’s social security expenses.
The artist explained that in Spain, as in many other EU countries, “legislation does not always embody the fair, the singular or the urgent. Visual artists do not have a special regime, and until not long ago they could only obtain labour rights if they contributed as freelancers in the category of ‘bullfighting professionals and other shows’, a phrase ironically symptomatic of the indifference of the legislation and the contempt of the public administration towards the peculiarities of our profession.”
Artists fulfil agendas and enrich cultural centres but are working in overwhelmingly precarious conditions: requirements of flexibility, self-exploitation, extreme mobility, labour instability, precarious wages and de-regulation of labour rights. When an artist becomes a parent, especially in the case of women, these inequalities become even more glaring.