Artists have continually questioned their status and place in society. The widespread vision of the artist as an outsider from the peripheries of social life, a utopia seeker, a celebrity selling works for millions or an erudite nonconformist who voices his or her opinions in the public debate, has spawned many myths concerning their privileges and obligations in the contemporary world. The exhibition formulates a question about the way artists define their status and position in the realm of an ever-widening economic gap: that of the possibility to reconcile dreams of social justice with the needmof artistic freedom and autonomy. At the same time, the show highlights the tension between artists’ rather ambivalent affiliation with the intellectual or financial elite and their responsibility for the rest of the society. For artists occupy a paradoxical position among social classes. To quote Pierre Bourdieu, they form “the dominated part of the dominant class”; they can “flirt” both with the dominant elite and with the emancipation-oriented groups who feel oppressed. This peculiar bipolar position adopted by artists provokes reflection on the way they highlight their affiliation, identification or aspiration to a given social class, and the way they reveal their own privileged class position. We are interested in the process that transforms the existential and institutional figure of the artist into a medium that some use to demonstrate and modify their entanglement in the mechanisms of socioeconomic divisions. The exhibition shows the ways in which the tension that characterizes current political and social conflicts in Poland becomes central to the art world and the figure of the artist. It is a tension between the symbolic and financial elites and those who are excluded from the so-called establishment – between those adjusted to capitalism and those who feel used and humiliated.

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