Artists Rejected from Polish Pavilion to Stage Independent Show in Venice - Living Strong Television Network

Ignacy Czwartos, the artist originally selected to represent Poland at the 2024 edition of the Venice Biennale, later dropped from the plan after the new government dissented from the show, will now mount an independent exhibition titled “Polonia Uncensored” in Venice this month.

The show will open on April 20 at a private space in the Viale IV Novembre, located close by to the Giardini site where Poland’s national pavilion is being held.

The move comes after his initial presentation, which was to encompass 35 paintings, was rejected after an election in October removed officials from Poland’s far-right Law and Justice party (PiS), who approved the original pavilion. The conservative party, whose members align themselves with nationalist politics, reigned in the country since 2015 until the fall of last year.

The pavilion’s initial plan drew widespread criticism for featuring imagery that imagined Poland as having been historically oppressed by Germany and Russia during the 20th century. Poland’s newly-instated culture minister, Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, halted the project at the end of December.

Replacing Czwartos to represent the national pavilion is Open Group, a Ukrainian artist collective founded in 2012 that includes Yuriy Biley, Pavlo Kovach, and Anton Varga.

The change led to the artist, who is in his late 50s and mostly produces different variations of self-portraits, alleging the show was canceled due to censorship. The new exhibition, organized by the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, will feature some of the same imagery he initially proposed.

After Czwartos’s proposal for the exhibition was accepted under Poland’s previous regime, three members of the government’s selection jury overseeing the pavilion’s plan disinvested from it. The members issued a statement arguing Czwartos’s presentation clashed with the biennale’s theme titled “Foreigner Everywhere,” which is focused on concepts related to exile, international crises, and migration.

In their statement, the jury committee claimed further that it didn’t represent the local contemporary art scene in Poland and critiqued the works for positioning Poland as “a victim.”

In November, Joanna Warsza, a curator of the 2022 iteration of the Polish Pavilion, told the Guardian in that Czwartos’s presentation was the “end game of eight years of right-wing rule.”

In a press release announcing the new show, Czwartos decried the cancellation as a “new form of censorship” in Poland. He also alleged that the new government is trying to suppress aspects of Poland’s military history in the mid-20th century, allusions to which feature in his paintings. References to the period, he claimed, “are being erased from the public media and from the institutions of the state.”

Optimized with PageSpeed Ninja

Protected by Security by CleanTalk