The Accursed Ones
Performance by Mikołaj Sobczak and Nicholas Grafia
Fill still from 'The Accursed Ones' by Mikołaj Sobczak, 2018, collage by Nicholas Grafia
Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw will host a performance by Mikołaj Sobczak and Nicholas Grafia as part of Sobczak's residency in the Department of Presence.
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.