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David Brinkworth

Cleaning the Institution

15 June — 22 June 2002

This low-key performance involved the artist cleaning the non-gallery spaces within the Ikon building during opening hours. Visitors were obliged to move around him, on their way to exhibitions on the first and second floors, while he dusted, scrubbed and polished surfaces of ‘the institution’. On one hand, Brinkworth was paying homage to other artists such as Billy Apple, humorously referring to a tendency to self-pity in marginalisation. On the other hand, he was exemplifying the repetitive nature of many people working lives, and, more generally, problematising notions of a hierarchy that is conventionally brought to bear on the diversity of human activities.