6.03 – 1.06.2013
Who you are? /
The exhibition „Who you are” by Jarema Drogowski centered on a subject of Polish national identity: Discussion over the problem of the shape of the patriotism, national identity and its practices electrifies both the public and the media. Expansion and polarization of the conflict between nationalism and internationalism had left scarcely any room for those who do not identify themselves with any of extreme attitudes. Drogowski refuted this discussion contesting its extremist nature and encouraged us both to take a part in it and to take the discussion itself to a whole different level.
The artist took as a point of departure the Polish emblem, which, however, did not appear in the gallery in its well-known canonical form. Gallery space was filled with works created by means of careful and precise modification, manipulation and collage recombination of the polish emblems elements. This rich repertoire of possible reconfigurations reflected the multiplicity of visions capturing national identity. At the same time, they revealed the fact that Poland had become a country without any Idea, without any clear concept that the emblem could be a reflection of. Neither our laws nor we presented what a country Poland is, or what a country should it be. Our public discourse was dominated by the petty political struggle for ideological, but not for the Idea. National identity instead of connecting – divided, collapsing when faced with mundane issues. This resulted in denial and repudiation of questions about who we are and what State we together create. The question of national identity was relegated to the private realm and cease being a subject of a common sense oriented social dialogue.
Jarema Drogowski works presented at the exhibition „Who you are” illustrate a problem expressed in a saying "There are as many Republics as many there are Poles". Watching those permutations of our emblem (some of which represent a clear political concepts and the other raise questions about aesthetic layer of our identity), we realize that the problem is not in our personal relation to the issues discussed in the media, but somewhere deeper. That we need to create a new language to talk about Poland, Poles and our identity.