The exhibition “Communis – Renegotiating Community” focuses on the contemporary Polish identity, in which religion and spirituality often determine the vision of the national community. The show aims to enquire: How do art works and various activities that emerge from the crossroads of artistic practice and spirituality engage in a dialogue with the community?; How do they problematize the community’s vision of its own self; And how do they blur the categories in which the community sees the world?

At a time when the Polish public sphere seems to witness an ebbing of emancipatory pursuits based on rational methods, which are part and parcel of the project of modernity, we ask about the possibility of a dialogue that draws on the sphere of the irrational, on religion, spirituality and affect. Can art serve to problematize the social chasm and profound rift that nowadays haunts the Polish community? Is it possible to delineate the spheres of social life that could be renegotiated? Does the artists’ engagement with the major elements of Polish identity—spirituality and religion—offer a chance to expand the social imaginary and increase the level of acceptance of ethnic, social, or sexual otherness?

The exhibition raises the question of the recurring vision of the Polish community as based on religious ethics. It casts light on social movements that pursue a tangible transformation of the Church that consists in the admission of hitherto excluded groups. We also focus on the new “enchantment” of the world; that which can be observed in the commercial sphere, as well as on the critique of social relations that draws on religious rituals.

Artists: Paweł Althamer, Przemysław Branas, Hubert Czerepok, Michał Dobrucki, Inicjatywa Pracownicza, Ada Karczmarczyk, Milena Korolczuk, KwieKulik, Małgorzata Malinowska/Kocur, Maria Olbrychtowicz, Zygmunt Piotrowski, Alicja Rogalska, Rozdzielczość Chleba, Daniel Rycharski, Jana Shostak, Łukasz Surowiec, Jerzy Bohdan Szumczyk, Stach Szumski, Piotr Wysocki

Curators: Szymon Maliborski, Łukasz Mojsak