“The Polish Silesia” exhibit widely misses mark

“The Polish Silesia” ? an exhibition in Myslowice, was the part of the Off Festival in Myslowice. The event was supposed to revise stereotyped thinking about that region, the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported.

It seems, however, that even artists share the same associations of Silesia with majority of Poles. Silesia still remains the region of coal, miners and ugly architecture stemming from the 1970s. The aim of this exhibition was to shatter Silesian myths and improve the area’s image.

It was supposed to present a fresh look by outside artists from Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk. It would show how untruthful the picture of “Black Silesia” had become. The title “The Polish Silesia” comes from the work of Anna Niesterowicz. Marcin Szczelina, custodian of the exhibition, invited some splendid artists.

The paintings of Edward Dwurnik or films by Wilhelm Sasnal could have never been viewed in the Cultural Center of Myslowice. There are also works on display of a young generation of artists such as Anna Niesterowicz, Joanna Rajkowska and Agata Nowicka. Other artists taking part in the exhibition are: Szymon Kobylarz, Jerzy Kosalka, Mikolaj Dlugosz, Karolina Kowalska, Michal Budny and Janusz Lukowicz. The variety of artists is equaled by the variety of art genres: film, paintings, drawings and installations. The first mural (a piece of art displayed on the wall) in the city, created by Edward Dwurnik, is also a part of the exhibition. Entitled “Smiling Faces,” the mural is on a jail wall in the center of the city. Also of interest: A mobile installation, “YAPPER,” by Tomasz Bajer and Andrzej Dudka-Durer, has been touring the city looking like a huge loudspeaker, filling the city space with music and multimedia projections. Is all the variety together with the novelty of this exhibition enough to reach intended aim? A Gazeta Wyborcza review said: “Everything has disappointed.

Not in an artistic sense of course; from this point of view it is a brilliant exhibition. But the artists have somehow missed the meaning which was intended by composing this display. They showed the stereotype image of Silesia as a mining ?skansen’ (open-air museum or zoo).”

Exhibit custodian Szczelina told Gazeta Wyborcza: “I wanted to create an exhibition which deals with the stereotypes. Having composed it, I thought it has a sentimental character. Some works cultivate the (Silesian stereotypical) myth; some sharpen it to show it in a different context. But they still remain stereotyped.” However, the truth is, the art reflects the reality, which in this case is not so easy to enchant. The exhibition runs until the end of September.

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