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Sex, suicide, socialism, spirit and stereotypes

  • okres trwania: 7.12.2019 – 24.01.2020
  • kurator: Curator: Agata Cukierska
  • dodatkowe: Opening: 7.12.2019 (Saturday) 7 PM

Artists: Rosie Dahlstrom, James Duffy, Mary Evans, Ben Fitton, Katrine Hjelde, Sally Jane, Jolanta Jastrząb, Karolina Konopka, Kolektyw Biuro Podróży (Paweł Mendrek, Małgorzata Szandała, Ewa Zasada), Gloria Lopez-Cleires, Gary Marshall-Stevens, Reyhaneh Mirjahani, Eleanor Neason, Martin Newth, Johanna Oskarsson, Beate Persdotter Løken, Rasmus Richter, Laura Rosser, Secondeditions (Elizabeth Peebles and Marcus Eisenmann), Alexander Stevenson, Kolbrún Inga Söring, Veera Rustomji, Miłosz Wnukowski.

On 27 July 1960, while addressing a group of a few hundred Republicans, the then President of the USA, Dwight D. Eisenhower enumerated the disastrous effects of the prosocial policy in Sweden, associating socialism with excessive sexual freedom, alcohol abuse and the highest suicide rate in the world. To some extent, Eisenhower’s speech, verging on what is today referred to as fake news, was based on the provocative essay by Joe David Brown, titled “Sin and Sweden”, published in 1955 in the Times Magazine. In the text, questioned by experts and violating the press code of ethics, Brown presented a one-sided image of a country guided by dubious moral standards and its secularised society deprived of Christian values. Brown also used limited statistical data concerning, among others, the access to and the rate of abortion as well as some inconsistent information on the teenagers sex education programme introduced in Sweden as a pioneering project. To Eisenhower and his Republican audience, the statistics made Sweden a perfect example of socialism bringing about the fall of a nation.
Although the presidential speech was soon exposed as deceptive, especially when it came to the actual number of committed suicides, the words led to the birth of the negative stereotype. Until today, the views on Sweden are strongly polarised. Politicians and international commentators see Sweden either as the model contemporary society, where all progressive solutions – from technical novelties to social reforms – catch on sooner than elsewhere, or as a collapsed state. Apart from the positive associations there are extremely negative stories, revolving mainly around the visions of the imminent catastrophe caused by the increasing number of immigrants and the country’s liberal policy.
In 2017, Sweden reappeared in a speech of an American president. At one of his rallies in Florida, Donald Trump spoke about a terrorist attack in Sweden which had never taken place. According to the Swedish secret service, most of the absurd news concerning Sweden and Swedes is produced in Russia. Such reports are also very popular in Poland. Quite recently, the right-wing media informed the public about Swedes migrating in masses to Poland – the last safe European country.
“Similar sensational news can be found on the Internet, and in Poland, Russia and Hungary is also reported by state TVs or newspapers. The phenomenon has already been branded Sweden smearing. Interestingly enough, such reports present Sweden as a country characterised simultaneously by Prussian discipline and complete lawlessness, political correctness and the lack of morality”.
Stereotypical perception of a society is increasingly frequently relying on fake news. Using the keywords selected from Eisenhower’s speech, the artists investigate the issue of stereotype, which, although problematic and inconvenient, can at the same time serve as a cleverly perverse slogan, used in tourism marketing. In the world of digital culture and alternative reality of memes and virals, seemingly derogative slogans may often be used as a marketing tool. It is enough to examine the issue of young European’s alco-tourism, fuelled mainly by cheap sex and booze. Bytom is stereotypically perceived as the most deprived city of the region, affected the most severely by both material and social degradation. Paraphrasing the slogan which once defined the Scandinavians, we are transferring it onto the Silesian ground. This way the artist invited to the project and representing Poland, Great Britain and Sweden, while referring to the shameful statistics topped today by Silesia, confront their own stereotypes with the local ones. During their stay in Bytom they are also investigating the tourist potential of the place. Does the city, perceived stereotypically as the most disadvantaged area in the region stand a chance of becoming attractive?


The exhibition was organised within the Parallax Project in cooperation with the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, Chelsea College of Art in London, Plymouth University and the University of Gothenburg’s Valand Academy.

 

exhibitions 2019

  • BON APPÉTIT

    In Poland, disability – just like the owls in Twin Peaks – is not what it seems to be. It is the same with Joanna Pawlik’s exhibition, hosted by the Bytom Kronika Gallery, where the Red Room – inspire

    Kamil Kuitkowski
    a text accompanying Joanna Pawlik’s “Black Pasta” exhibition
    translation: Łukasz Kansy
  • Joanna Pawlik. Black Pasta

    with the participation of Edward Gil-Deskur, Klaudia Kwiecień, Wiktor Okrój, Dorota Wach, Agata Wąsik

    15.02. – 3.04.2020
    curators: Agata Cukierska, Katarzyna Kalina
    opening: 15.02. (Saturday) at 19:00 hours
  • Michał Patycki. The Sun

    After a long shift underground, miner Staszek Zięba finally comes to the surface. He washes his body from coal dust and irradiates it with a sun lamp to make up for the sunless hours.

    15.02. – 3.04.2020
    curator: Maga Ćwieluch
    opening: 15.02. (Saturday) at 19:00 hours
  • Sex, suicide, socialism, spirit and stereotypes

    Artists: Rosie Dahlstrom, James Duffy, Mary Evans, Ben Fitton, Katrine Hjelde, Sally Jane, Jolanta Jastrząb, Karolina Konopka, Kolektyw Biuro Podróży (Paweł Mendrek, Małgorzata Szandała, Ewa Zasada),

    7.12.2019 – 24.01.2020
    Curator: Agata Cukierska
    Opening: 7.12.2019 (Saturday) 7 PM
  • Miłosz Wnukowski. Get treated

    Crisis. The state of breakdown which disturbs the equilibrium. Also a moment of breakthrough, a decisive turning point. From the medical perspective it is a culmination phase, a climax, followed by a

    5.10. – 15.11.2019
    Curator: Agata Cukierska
    Exhibition opens at Kronika on 5.10. (Saturday) at 7 PM
  • Katarzyna Górna. Picnic at the side of a road

    The exhibition presents works from three different periods in Katarzyna Górna’s artistic activity, and creates a story of class violence, oppression and a life led with others on a devastated planet.

    13.07. - 13.09.2019
    curator: Jakub Gawkowski
    opening: 13.07. (Saturday) at 18:00 hours
  • The Navel of the World

    participiants: Magdalena Fabiańczyk, Dorota Hadrian, Milena Kowalska, Wojciech Ochocki, Grażyna Monika Olszewska, Uladzimir Pazniak, Krzysztof Piskuła, Piotr Śnieguła, Iga Świeściak, Paweł Wątroba, Ag

    5.10. - 15.11.2019
    curators: Katarzyna Kalina and Paweł Wątroba
    opening: 5.10. (Saturday) at 19:00 hours
  • Aleka Polis. A Multiplicity of Realities*. For Euphemia Iphigenia

    The number of realities is infinite. Every time you make a choice, for example, choose one of possible paths at a crossroads or begin to set your own path, you create new realities.

    25 May - 28 June 2019
    curator: Katarzyna Kalina
    opening: 25 May (Saturday), at 6:00 p.m.
  • Maciej Cholewa. Physics of Spending Time

    This is what came to my mind when Maciek Cholewa told me about his new exhibition

    25 May - 28 June 2019
    curator: Katarzyna Kalina
    opening: 25 May (Saturday), at 6:00 p.m.
  • Patrycja Orzechowska. Binder and Handicraft

    “It is ugly to be punishable, but there is no glory in punishing.”

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    25 May – 28 June 2019
    curator: Katarzyna Kalina
    opening: 25 May (Saturday), at 6:00 p.m.
  • Liliana Piskorska. The Long March Through the Institutions

    The title of Liliana Piskorska’s exhibition brings to mind the writings of Antonio Gramsci, a Marxist philosopher who believed that the scope of influence is determined not only by political authoriti

    25 May – 28 June 2019
    curator: Paweł Wątroba
    opening: 25 May (Saturday), 6 p.m.
  • Queen Bee

    artists: Olga Dziubak, Małgorzata Goliszewska, Hanna Kaszewska, Karolina Mełnicka, Patrycja Migiel, Jolanta Nowaczyk, Tatiana Pancewicz, Irmina Rusicka, Emilia Turek, Dorota Wójcik, Agata Zbylut 

    March 30 – May 2, 2019
    curator: Agata Zbylut, curatorial cooperation: Agata Cukierska
    opening: March 30 (Saturday) 7:00 p.m.
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    Screening will be followed by a b

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  • Aleksandra Kubiak. I made a model of you

     (...)

    But they pulled me out of the sack,
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    I made a model of you,
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    Sylvia Plath, Daddy (frag.)

    26.01. – 8.03.2019
    curator: Agata Cukierska
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    Opera often irritates people
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    26.01. - 8.03.2019
    curator: Katarzyna Kalina
    opening: January 26 (Saturday) 7 PM