Mikołaj Sobczak: The Accursed Ones
Residency at the Department of Presence
From 'The Accursed Ones' by Mikołaj Sobczak, 2018
Mikołaj Sobczak’s new work for the Department of Presence examines how politics, and “historical politics” and the militarization of national memory in particular, can shape the fate of marginalized social groups and produce non-normative identities. At the Museum on Pańska Street, Sobczak shows two video works referencing a series of earlier watercolours and gouaches, in which he juxtaposed images of armed partisans and drag resistance and legendary American trans activists (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries — STAR)
In his 2017 film, STAR, and a new video, The Accursed Ones, Sobczak once again speculates on contemporary codes of pride and sisterhood alternative to nationalist identity politics. However, he does not shy away from exaggerating historical myths and contested codes of class and gender identity. In this way, he points to the politicised way of managing categories such as “traitor”, “hero”, “cursed”, “patriot”, as well as their inherent fluidity.
The artist tells a story of guerrilla fighters and the new cursed soldiers, posing a question about who are today’s rebels rejected by the system, disobedient and struggling for their imagined country? Is it necessary to reclaim the foolhardy, emancipatory symbolism or rather look for new, anti-heroic forms of resistance? As if in an exorcism, the modern warriors and witches of Sobczak's films and performances liberate our national nightmares, fears, and fantasies. Through the expressiveness, exaggeration and ambiguity of the artist's camp imaginary, they enter into a perverse dialogue with contemporary stagings of heroism.
The films STAR and The Accursed Ones feature: Aldona Relaxation, Bella Ćwir, Charlotte, Kim Lee, Lucy d'Arc, and Uel.
18.09 opening, concert by Bella Ćwir
20.09 ‘Diamonds on my Guns’, Dr Magda Szcześniak in a discussion with Mikołaj Sobczak
22.09 'The Accursed Ones', performance by Mikołaj Sobczak and Nicholas Grafia