How we work

Art, Talk, Milano/Online

Video recording now online

Art, Talk

Video recording now online

The debates about the remuneration of artists have been brewing in the field of contemporary art for quite some time. These discussions go hand in hand with ideas and values that are inscribed in artistic work. Collectives such as Wages For Wages Against (WFWA) or Art Workers Italia (AWI) campaign for fair wages for artists and other people working in this field, and in doing so they also initiate very fundamental discussions about working conditions. At the same time, the opinion that artists in particular work out of passion and that financial remuneration is secondary in this sense is still widespread. Especially in this context, a gendered perspective is also urgent. «Apart from domestic and care work» writes Hito Steyerl, «art is the industry with the most unpaid labor around. [
] This labor is largely performed by woman».
Tiphanie Blanc (Wages For Wages Against), Giulia Mengozzi and Elena Radice (both of Art Workers Italia) explore these and other matters in the conversation How we work, moderated by Gioia Dal Molin.

On this occasion, Tiphanie Blanc will present We are not where we need to be but, we ain’t where we were, the first volume of a series of publications by WFWA that reports on active research within the artistic professions and institutions since 2017. Its aim is to question the underlying neoliberal logics in the contemporary art world, by orienting the object of study towards the struggles that impact it. It is the result of militant experiences, at the convergence of our individual experiences and collective questionings (in French, English translations available (soon) on WFWA).

The talk How we work is part of a series of events at Istituto Svizzero, Milano, entitled STATE OF MIND/STATO D’ANIMO.

Starting in autumn 2020 we retrace the state of the art, the world and the soul through a series of events, which include screenings, dialogues, listening and workshops. STATE OF MIND/STATO D’ANIMO is also nurtured by the recent experience of the pandemic and lockdowns, which has taught us, among other things, that reading opens up to new worlds, that people can be close to each other even through the Zoom platform or that taking care of oneself and others is redeeming. Moreover, if on the one hand this period has allowed us to focus, once again, on ourselves, on the other hand it has sensitised our eyes to new and re-evaluated aspects of life: our state of mind and the state of the world. We reflect on the issues that concern us and to which we want to devote ourselves; on the things we can do and what we want to learn; we ask ourselves in what world we live in and under what conditions we want to work. We are convinced that art and culture are fundamental in this context, as they ask questions and provide food for thought.

STATE OF MIND/STATO D’ANIMO’s events are linked to the exhibition programme of Istituto Svizzero, and also draw on other themes. Participating artists and other actors from the art world to the project, come not only from Switzerland, but also from Italy and the rest of the world.


Tiphanie Blanc is a teacher, editor and independent art critic. Based in Brussels since 2017, she co-founded the bookshop La Dispersion in Geneva and created her own publishing house, L’Amazone, in 2020 during the pandemic. In parallel, she is an active member of the collective Wages For Wages Against, for which she organizes seminars and roundtables on the subject of the precariousness of artistic work across Europe. 

Initiated in March 2017 by Ramaya Tegegne, Wages For Wages Against (WFWA) is a campaign for the remuneration of artists in Switzerland and elsewhere, as well as an alternative and fairer economy of the arts. WFWA aims to raise awareness of precarious and exploitative working conditions we are faced with in our daily life through public and collective debates and question the ideological underpinnings of the current situation.

Giulia Mengozzi (she/her) works as an assistant curator and is part of a collective dedicated to contemporary practices that use sound as a means of expression. Sometimes she writes. In May 2020, in the context of the social and financial crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, she founded AWI – Art Workers Italia, along with a group of other people.

Elena Radice (she/her) is an artist, photographer and teacher in secondary schools. She has participated in exhibitions and cultural initiatives at a national and international, independent and institutional level, often collaborating with others in dialogic processes. Since May 2020, Elena supports and contributes to the activities of AWI – Art Workers Italia as one of its members.

Founded in 2020, AWI – Art Workers Italia is the first organization in Italy born with the aim of giving voice to contemporary art workers. AWI is a self-organised, autonomous and non-partisan association that collaborates with experts to build ethical, contractual and legal tools to protect art workers. AWI works in coordination with other initiatives in Italy and abroad, and in solidarity with all the precarious workers, to reform the field and make it more inclusive, sustainable and transparent. AWI acts for the recognition of work and its regulation, the redistribution of resources and the elimination of all forms of exploitation.

Gioia Dal Molin is Head Curator at the Istituto Svizzero in Rome, Milan and Palermo. At the Istituto Svizzero in Rome she curated the exhibition Hannah Villiger: Works/Sculptural.