Workers in Emptiness series, Alexander Ugay
In this artwork, workers are placed in pure nothingness manifesting a new approach on what realism in art can be today. The work consists of cut-outs from real-life situations, an attempt to capture and crop current systems of power, social hierarchies and the disadvantageous financial dominance that is relevant to today’s society. I like to think about this series through the lens of Henry Matisse’s cut-outs that he developed in the 1940s to engage with collage. In Workers of Emptiness, Ugay replaces Matisse’s minimal, organic floral forms that recall abstractions and basics of design with lost, underpaid, unprotected, and often illegal workers that are equally representative of its time as the flowers were once for Matisse.