I screamed, and when I screamed, valuable articles burst into bits…
Place: Günter Grass Gallery in Gdańsk, Szeroka Street 37
Opening: 18th of May, 6.00 P.M.
Exhibion: 18th of May - 1st of July 2018
Artist: Hubert Czerepok, Monika Drożyńska, Bartosz Fic, Günter Grass, Lila Kalinowska, Łukasz Kuśnierz, Ewa Łowżył, Justyna Łuczaj-Salej, Cecylia Malik and Matki Polki na Wyrębie, Agnieszka Piksa, Liliana Piskorska, Ondrej Revicky & Paweł Bińczycki, Jadwiga Sawicka, Bartosz Ślosarski, Zorka Wollny, Artur Żmijewski oraz studenci Wydziału Sztuki Uniwersytetu Rzeszowskiego / and students of the Faculty of Art / University of Rzeszów (Jagoda Duda, Edyta Kurc, Stanisław Lifar, Amelia Kalwas, Paweł Matuła, Paweł Skomorowski Sylwia Socha, Anna Zięba)
Curators: Jadwiga Sawicka, Marta Wróblewska
The exhibition includes works whose leitmotif consists in resistance or protesting. We are interested in various artistic strategies used in order to portray the lack of consent, the attempt of finding our own language in order to express our personal protest or to use our skills in order to promote issues that we deem right. The title of the exhibition, derived from the novel, The Tin Drum written by the Nobel Prize Winner born in Gdansk, Günter Grass, is announcing the general idea stemming from this literary work, and inspiring the exhibition at the Günter Grass Gallery in Gdansk.
Not incidentally, the action of both the novel as well as the exhibition entitled I screamed… takes place in Gdansk – a city of freedom, a place where workers’ strike that resulted in overthrowing communism started. Resistance is a strong element of the local identity, and is a continuous point of reference for many contemporary authors. According to Günter Grass himself, the whole Danzig Trilogy may be reduced to the opinion that it illustrates a “desperate and in general hopeless struggle of an individual.” The main protagonist of “The Tin Drum” - Oskar Matzerath – an anarchist, a dwarf-child that refused to grow, expresses himself in two peculiar ways: either banging on the drum or shattering glass by screaming and singing.
Symbols represented by Oskar have been interpreted by many scholars, including professor Maria Janion at the top of this list. The destructive power of scream is supposed to be identified with warning signs. On the other hand, this might also be a manifestation against the so-called ‘elevated big talk,’ which in turn is to represent the rage of a deceived and exploited generation. However, destruction might be equivalent to creation, to ‘transgression into artistry,’ which makes the screamer an artist standing in opposition to harmful ideologies, looking for a ‘place from where something can be seen.’ By providing the audience with his/her point of view, the artist – similarly to Oskar in the novel – presents not only his/her aesthetic delight of creation, but also the ‘act of creation turned upside down,’ resulting from some internal need, in defiance of the times that he/she was born into. Therefore scream, being an act of creation, expresses life, while its particular intensity – the artistic instinct, is an embodiment of action, as opposed to the ‘deathly silence.’
Grass’s novel is an excellent example of a political and artistic metaphor. Another important element in thinking about the exhibition, is the article by Marek Krajewski, entitled Discreet Disagreement. Resistance and Material Culture (Kultura Współczesna [Contemporary Culture] 2010). The author contrasts various forms of resistance against the pressure of the consumption overload present in the states with developed capitalist economy in the 1960s and 1970s, and in Poland during the first decades of the 21st century. During those few years that have passed since this article was published, there occurred so many changes in social and political life in Poland, that taking up the issue of disagreement with the surrounding reality seems to be important and topical for us. This exhibition is the voice of artists whose works are concerned with the resistance or expression of protest, being at the same time a reflection on real situations — both on a social scale as well as in private circumstances — where resistance or protest have taken place.