“No Pain, No Gain” is much more than a personal exercise motto. In this drawing I am trying to expose this motto as a social demand rather than a purely internal process.
This notion in which an individual is expected to suffer in order to gain profit (monitary, physical, social, professional…) is really at the heart ofÂ capitalism. In the celebration of competitive individualism you are expected to believe “it’s all up to you” and maybe “you are just not trying hard enough”.
Van-Gogh’s life story established the myth of the “suffering artist” in popular culture. Today this notion is maintained in art and beyond it. We can follow the individual pain and gain broadcastedfrom the boxing arena, from the reality shows, and so on…
I started the illustration with an image of gladiator battles in mind but I decided to go with dog fights instead. When men are fighting they assume the role of the competitive hero, believing they stand to gain something (life, glory…). However, in the savage phenomenon of dog fights the pain and the gain are separated. While the dogs are shredding each other to pieces, the spectators are the ones gaining entertainment and money.