Contemporary Artists go in Search of Poland is a new project that seeks to redefine the perception of tradition and national identity. It is based on the play "Ubu Roi" by Alfred Jarry...
"The Astronaut", Michał Jankowski
"Contemporary Artists go in Search of Poland" is a new project that seeks to redefine the perception of tradition and national identity, through the works of contemporary Polish artists, such as Jan Dziaczkowski, who recently passed away, Michał Jankowski, Dorota Kozieradzka, Tomasz Kozak, Michał Szuszkiewicz and Robert Kuśmirowski
These artists have chosen to view the country's national identity ironically, often using pastiche to create a grotesque and surreal element to their works.The exhibition will be accompanied by a screening of Piotr Szulkin's film adaptation of "Ubu Roi" (2003) and a curator- led talk on contemporary Polish art.
The project "Alfred Jarry's Naughty Children" is inspired by Jarry's play 'Ubu Roi'. The playwright made the point of setting the play, which premiered in 1896, "in Poland, that is to say Nowhere" (Poland was not on European maps at the time of the play's conception). For Jarry, Poland became a metaphorical figure, a sphere in which the writer unmasks despotism and criticises both royalty and religion.
Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) was a French writer of plays, novels, poetry, journalism and essays. The man himself was just as eccentric as his works, which frequently offended and scandalised Parisian theatre-goers. His play "Ubu Roi", which begins with the expletive "Merdre!" was much criticised as an instance of 'low comedy' with instances of vulgar, scatological humour. He invented the science of "Pataphysics", which describes "the laws which govern exceptions and will explain the universe supplementary to this one". Reference to the science was later made famous in the lyrics of Rock songs, such as The Beatles' hit "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". Most of his life was spent in poverty, and he died , aged 34, from tuberculosis exasperated by excessive drug and alcohol use.
Jarry's works were pioneering in their development of "absurdist" literature. His 'Ubu Roi' was a forerunner to the Theatre of the Absurd theatrical style, the chief proponents of which were Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco and Harold Pinter. The play, which made Jarry's name, was based on a joke among Jarry's school friends about an unpopular Physics teacher, whose fictional exploits they recorded in "Les Polonais".The character of "Père Ubu" would later be transformed into Ubu Roi. The latter play significantly expanded on the idea and introduced elements such as marionette work.
Date: 1-16th of October, 2011
Venue: Real World Gallery, London
Organised by: Real World Gallery, Fundacja Kultury Polskiej
Project cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute