Artist shuts down gallery and gives staff five weeks off

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A London gallery has locked its doors and given staff five weeks off all in the name of art.

Maria Eichhorn's '5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours' exhibition runs at the Chisenhale Gallery from 23 April until 29 May. But the doors were only open for 24 hours before the artist brought down the shutters and told staff to go home.

A brief conference was held at the gallery, before the doors were locked at staff sent home Credit: Chisenhale Gallery

Why? Well the artist wants to give us nothing to see, but a lot to think about. The exhibition is examining why only work should be associated with being productive.

By giving workers time off Maria Eichhorn will examine what staff do with their spare time over the next five weeks.

The work is constituted not in the empty gallery but in the time given to the staff and what they choose to do with it. This commission presents multiple opportunities for audience engagement, from attending the symposium to contributing to conversations that will develop around the work. Eichhorn’s project directly confronts audience expectations of the artist, the artwork and the gallery. It is an artwork that exists as an idea in the public realm, operating by generating discourse, rather than through objects or images.

Chisenhale Gallery