Exhibition

Union by Noel Bowler

5 Jul 2018 – 22 Sep 2018

Event times

Tuesday - Thursday: 10am - 6pm
Friday and Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Closed Sundays and Mondays

Cost of entry

FREE ENTRY

Impressions Gallery

Bradford, United Kingdom

Address

Travel Information

  • For further information on local bus routes and times please visit the Metro website (www.wymetro.com).
  • By rail and bus Bradford Interchange is five minutes walk away from Impressions Gallery, with rail, bus and taxi services all under one roof. Bradford Interchange is only a 20-minute direct journey from Leeds station with links to the rest of the country.

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Made over a 5-year period, Noel Bowler’s Union reveals the boardrooms and private offices of trade union buildings across the globe. The exhibition offers a rare glimpse into places where decisions and policies that affect so many are made.

About

Bowler’s photographs show how the institutions of organised labour, designed to protect workers from exploitation in the nineteenth century, are responding to today’s economic uncertainty. Incorporating images from Russia, the USA, Poland and the UK, Union offers unprecedented access to rarely seen spaces, combining photographs of momentarily silent interiors of trade union offices alongside portraits of union leaders. 

Bowler invites us to walk the well-trodden carpets and parquet floors, and to gaze at the utilitarian desks beneath strip lights and false ceilings. Each space offers clues to its inhabitants; flags, emblems and political posters allow the viewer’s imagination to populate each dormant scene. 

There is a dry humour to Bowler’s work, the sparse setting of the Union of Polish Teachers in Warsaw is fittingly dominated by a large blackboard, whilst a cluttered desk at the Maritime Trades Department at the AFL-CIO in Washington DC demonstrates its inhabitant’s political leanings and sporting preferences. The ordinariness of many of these workspaces is undercut by the knowledge that these are sites where important contemporary battles around workers’ rights are taking place. 

Bowler offers a unique insight into the pressures and challenges facing unions in this era of political and economic uncertainty, radical changes in traditional work practices and increased worker insecurity. This timely exhibition continues Bowler’s ongoing consideration of the political forces that shape our world, reflected through the organisation of social space.

Noel Bowler says, “Union is a journey through an anxious world where the apparent certainty of the past faces an unknown future.”

Union by Noel Bowler is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and Culture Ireland.

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Exhibiting artists

Noel Bowler

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