Curator - Statement
Czolgaj Sie is a poem written by the young,
prominent, Polish poet Marcin Swietlicki. Artist, composer and
musician, Cezary Ostrowski, has created a graphic illustratiion
of the poem, as well as music to accompany a reading by Swietlicki.
Upon first seeing and hearing
Czolgaj Sie, I assumed that it was a commentary on involuntary
sex trade. The verbal and visual clues all pointed strongly in
that direction. We have come to regard gender equality is the
expected state of affairs; and submission and humiliation to
be something forced upon an unwilling sex worker, or the victim
of vicious marital abuse. Something external to ourselves.
"I guess the sex trade
is not the issue here", countered Ostrowski. "It's
rather the man/woman (dominant/submissive) archetypic relation.
Now, however, the cultural norms [in Central/Eastern Europe]
are weakening, rather than going in the opposite direction. In
gender relations, there has been a masculinization of women,
and the adoption of a partnership model. It is part of a much
bigger shift in our culture and society. The state has grown
weaker, the church has suffered a loss of power, even while Polish
publisher Jerzy Urban was recently fined for insulting Pope John
Paul II. But even there, there was no time of imprisonment; and
the fine was really quite small. So the domination of the female
depicted in the poem is something we are moving away from, although
the patterns of thought are still deeply engrained.
"The building in the second
panel is similar to an actual place in Poznan called The Old
Brewery. For many it's a symbol of aggressive, inadequate capitalism.
Again, a master/slave relationship. And around the building are
gathered the so-called "average" (anonymous) people
(customers). They are interested only in consuming every heavily
promoted 'shit.' And so the submission continues, but in a new
I noted in the fifth panel,
that there appeared to be Latin and Orthodox Crosses, and the
Hammer and Sickle of the Soviet era. "Beyond the obvious,
answer," I asked, "What do they represent? Something
that is now dead?" Ambiguously, Ostrowki replied: "No
matter the system or religion - DEATH IS EQUAL." I wondered
also who the sniper was. Someone who intended to keep the woman
in her place, on the floor - the floor which was her "home"?
Was the sniper her pimp? Her husband? Or was it someone outside
of her existence, who was repelled by her existence, and sought
to destroy her? Or society as a whole, perhaps?
"I think we are all curious
who the sniper is," replied Ostrowski. "The most important
issue lies in understanding the sniper's existence."
W. Logan Fry