“CONSTITUTION FOR THE CHORUS OF POLES” in National Museum Of Contemporary Art, Athen (16 Jun 2022- 15 November 2022)

CONSTITUTION FOR THE CHORUS OF POLES is presented in National Museum Of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST), at group exhibit STATECRAFT. SHAPING THE STATE.

16 Jun 2022- 30 November 2022

Marta Górnicka gathered over 50 people from both “left” and “right” wings of the political conflict in Poland: NOWY TEATR ACTORS, FOOTBALL FANS, THE STRZELEC GUN ASSOCIATION, CHRISTIANS, VIETNAMESE, JEWS, THE CHORUS OF WOMEN, MUSLIMS, REFUGEES, PEOPLE WITH DOWN SYNDROME, PENSIONERS, CHILDREN. The show premiered on the 1st of May 2016 i.e. the International Worker’s Day, during great national debate caused by the turmoil surrounding the Constitutional Tribunal. “Marta Górnicka reacted to this crisis with a powerful gesture: she showed that Polish constitution is not a project of an ethnically homogeneous group, but very diverse group of individuals.”

CONSTITUTION FOR THE CHORUS OF POLES was performed 2’nd of September 2017 at Plac Defilad, in the front of the Palace of Culture and Since in Warsaw, at the open ai

Statecraft is an international group exhibition that explores the underlying mechanisms at work in the engineering of the nation state as we know it today, and the challenges it faces in our globalised, networked world.

Probing the history and the processes of nation-building in modern times, Statecraft examines the power structures and processes behind state bureaucracy, governance, and sovereignty, along with their common issues of democracy, citizenship, rights, inclusion, and exclusion.

The exhibition also explores the scope and limit of state authority while confronting a new political reality in Europe and beyond during a time of rising nationalism and authoritarianism as some countries revert to an inward-looking model.

Featuring 39 artists, Statecraft looks beyond traditional forms of the nation state towards alternative models of statehood and political organisation, while addressing the current challenges of mass migration and the realities of post- and trans-national structures of organisation, globalisation and technologically enabled nomadism.

As the exhibition was being prepared, Russia invaded Ukraine, making us painfully aware of the fact that the post-Cold War order has begun to unravel, that democracy and national sovereignty are not to be taken for granted, and that unchecked state power leads to violent and dangerous conditions for humans, as well as the environment.

In today’s multicultural Europe, it is very difficult to formulate objective criteria for nationhood—as the fluid concepts of identity, language and ethnicity are increasingly shifting. In this context, what is the nation state, this relatively modern artificial construct?

To what degree is the nation an imagined political community, a cultural formation, produced through the continued circulation of discourse, as Benedict Anderson has suggested in his seminal book Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and spread of Nationalism? How are the myths that sustain the idea of coherent national community engineered?

Statecraft prompts us to reflect on the nation state in the changed circumstances of today, more than 200 years after its conception as an idea. Can we imagine other models of social organisation and statehood that don’t require identification with a particular flag or passport? What other forms of belonging and community outside the nation state might come into fruition?

How can we move beyond the toxicity of nationalism while retaining the benefits of the nation state? Is the concept of “global citizenship,” which is gaining currency in light of the need to find shared solutions to shared problems, at all possible—or even plausible?

The artists in the exhibition critically dissect these issues, revealing the hidden complexities underlying the contested issues of nation and statehood, and compelling us to look at these from unexpected and imaginative angles.

curator: Katarina Gregos

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