Re-designing the East: Political designers
Wyspa Institute of Art 22.10.2010 - 30.01.2011.
Curator: Maks Bochenek
"Political designers" are part of the research project "Re-Designing the East" conducted between Central Europe (Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary) and Asia (Korea, Thailand, India), focusing on participation and involvement of graphic designers and artists in changes in political systems since the early 80s.
The central part of the show is the exhibition of works relating to, designed by Jerzy Janiszewski logo "Solidarity", which is one of the most recognizable characters in the world identifying the struggle for democratic state. The aim of the exhibition is to show how the dynamically changing political scene, economic situation and the development of law exerted an influence on changes in the method of the use and reception of the symbol of Solidarity. The Solidarity logotype is today becoming the subject of numerous legal proceedings intended to defend it against the excessive and unjustified abuses which over the years had changed it from a symbol of a uniting society into a trademark. The devaluation of the Solidarity symbol which was gaining strength towards the end of the 1990s was noticed by Polish artists. Their critical commentaries accompanied the successive anniversaries of the creation and activity of the movement, disputed its social and political potential and evoked at the same time a public discussion about its contemporary significance.
Within the framework of "Political Designers", we are presenting three artistic installations which broaden the issue of those contemporary strategies concentrating on modelling new qualities of democracy. Oliver Ressler's 8-channel video installation, entitled "What is democracy?", presents interviews with activists and analysts from eighteen countries from around the world in which they answer the question in the title of the work. Although all of the interviewees were asked the same question, the result is full of multifarious perspectives and points of view, representing a kind of global analysis of the profound political crises in the Western model of democracy. An elementary way of understanding democracy, such as meetings and exchanges of views among citizens, stands behind Lindy Pollack's installation, "Habeas Lounge". A red sofa shaped like an open oval was designed as a space for meetings, debates, community, public presence and an embodiment of democracy. For the duration of the exhibition, it will become an open place for discussions devoted to the questions posed by the exhibition. The third component of the exhibition is Jacek Niegoda's installation. It is a kind of instruction about Health and Safety at Work and it is aimed at cultural activists dealing with the revitalisation of areas formerly inhabited by workers. The graphic side is based on the design of a poster by Hubert Hilscher on the occasion of the foundation in 1975 of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which was the first international organisation to work for the building of economic cooperation between the Eastern and Western blocs. Within the framework of his work, Niegoda will organise a series of meetings and civic workshops, constituting the performative element of "Political Designers
Ryszard Beller, Czesław Bielecki, Ewa Bałuk – Zaborowska, Jerzy Janiszewski, Grzegorz Klaman, Jacek
Niegoda, Andrzej Pągowski, Linda Pollack, Oliver Ressler ,Tomasz Sarnecki , Michał Szlaga, Monika Rak,
Henryk Tomaszewski, Ania Witkowska.
An exhibition by:
Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk
in co-operation with:
Trafó Gallery, Budapest; Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart and Total Museum, Seoul
In conjunction with
In Charge. The Role of Political Designers in Transformation
Erste Foundation, Vienna