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"The Wall: Art Face to Face with Borders" opens at TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art
Łukasz Skąpski, Clinch, 2017, photo of a part of the work.

SZCZECIN.- The show is a continuation of the international exhibition The Wall. Art Face to Face with Borders which premiered at Careof DOCVA in Milan in January 2015. In Szczecin, the project has been expanded to include new works, some of them presented for the first time.

The show is based around the topic of borders and explores the socio-political, economical, historical and existential implications of the concept, including the current refugee crisis.

"The title makes reference to the Berlin Wall, for many years, a key symbolic landmark in the foreign policy of the countries on both sides of the “Iron Curtain”, and today, the inspiration for “Ostalgic” travel souvenirs popular in Western Europe. Over the Cold War years, the Berlin Wall embodied the rigid foreign policy structure in a number of countries, establishing a division between your own and stranger, friend and enemy, free and repressed. In today’s seemingly globalised post-modernity, borders have not become fluid, and history, despite the premature pronouncement (…) of its end by Francis Fukuyama in 1989, keeps revealing a whole range of new lines of division. New borders are created and planned on the basis of cultural or religious traditions, usually nurtured by notions of a permanent conflict, for example in Samuel Huntington’s pro-Bush theory of the “clash of civilisations” postulated in the US policy, or in the renewed concept of the decline of the West, recurring since the publication of the famous book by Oswald Spengler (1917).

Borders, both contemporary and historical, are above all a symptom of the fear of the new Other, a postcolonial legacy and the result of reactions to terrorism whose acts are largely caused by unbridged economic chasms. Some borders are equipped with a technocratic, political-economic barrier: Schengen (perceived differently in the South and in the East of Europe, for example in Ukraine and in the Mediterranean), the wall between the US and Mexico or a system of fortifications separating Israel from the Palestinian Autonomy.

The concept of The Wall was developed in 2014. At the time, the question of borders was a widely discussed theme: firstly, due to the open conflict in Ukraine, secondly, owing to the political focus on cross-border migration in the Mediterranean countries. From the very start, the exhibition development process was influenced by the awareness of the growing problem. The artists and organisers were convinced the events were of more than just local nature. They were aware that failing to provide solutions would escalate the conflict, with reality repeatedly overtaking the cassandric predictions of art”.

Artists: Paweł Althamer, Piotr Bujak, Wojciech Doroszuk, Magda Fabianczyk, Giuseppe Fanizza, Nina Fiocco and Metodo Salgari, Khaled Jarrar, Anna Konik, Giovanni Morbin, Marina Naprushkina, Joanna Rajkowska, Grupa R.E.P., Jana Shostak, Łukasz Skąpski, Margot Sputo, Łukasz Surowiec, Stephanie Syjuco, Grzegorz Sztwiertnia, Łukasz Trzciński, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Piotr Wysocki

Stanisław Ruksza, excerpt from curatorial statement.

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