Taking a look at the spaces of organised labour, Union explores the meeting rooms and back offices at the coalface of the ideological war between labour and capital that has shaped our lives since the industrial revolution. Mostly unpeopled, these interior spaces are quietly revealing. Some organisations occupy the simplest of functional spaces, others confidently demonstrate their rootedness within the established order of things, their spaces echoing the board rooms of corporate power.
Made over a 5-year period in trade union offices in 14 countries, the photographs offer us a glimpse into the places where the decisions and policies that affect so many are created. This work gives us 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. The work of the Union movement has never been so relevant for so many throughout the world. This timely work continues the artists ongoing consideration of the political forces that shape our world, reflected through the organisation of social space.
“It’s heartening to spend time with Bowler's quietly anchored work, to recognise the value and richness of all these sustained labours and understand that there are still sharp minds and strong hands ready to navigate difficult waters” – Ken Grant