Mark Titchner, "Defend me from myself (Broń mnie przed sobą samym)"
Polish Language Project on the Move in Britain
United Kingdom, 13.07.2012 – 18.07.2012
A travelling exhibition prepared by Toruń's Joanna Górska and Rafał Góralski, in collaboration with British artists Mark Titchner and Andrew D. Willett, splashes billboards with slogans drawn from Poland's cultural identity and national heritage in three UK cities
Over six days the Polish Language Project transports four large billboards into three British cities characterised by a substantial Polish population: Birmingham, West Bromwich and Walsall, presenting a series of unique and whimsical slogans along the most popular streets of each city. The aim of the project is to explore the particular Polish mindset and how it is placed within the universal context of European identity. The poster slogans and designs are inspired by the national myths, beliefs and ideas of Poland, the works of Polish writers, poets and thinkers through the ages. These slightly cynical slogans, which propose "Let's be the architects of our own misfortune" and "I can't make you happy" were created by four individual artists – two from Poland and two from the UK. The recurring theme of misery associated with Poles and their traumatic history rings particularly poignant for our times of economic crisis and social uncertainty. The exhibition also urges a new way of looking at Polish culture, to delve deeper into the nation's history and people in order to move beyond the image of a Pole as labourer and into other realms of being within society at large.
The initiators of the project are Joanna Górska and Rafał Góralski of the Rusz Gallery in Toruń. Both artists have been involvd creating and presenting thought provoking artwork in public spaces since 1999, even running their own billboard gallery where they exhibit their works. It is the world’s longest existing open-air exhibition initiative. The artists have received numerous awards and art grants, and participated in many exhibitions in Poland and abroad. They have invited two local artists to participate in the project – Mark Titchner, nominated for the prestigious British Turner Prize in 2006, creates sculptures, installations, videos and objects in public spaces. His works often include quotations from the lyrics, philosophical treatises, scientific treatises and occult. Andrew D. Willett is an artist and designer. He is interested in using the art technology and methods of distribution of information typical of mass communication.
The Polish Language Project show travels between the three cities from the 13th of July – 18th of July 2012. It will make several stops along the way, including Birmingham's Eastside Projects gallery, which inaugurates the project on the 13th and at The Public in West Bromwich and The New Art Gallery Walsall on the 14th.
The organiser of the project is FundacjaRusz with the support of Toruńska Agenda Kulturalna. The project has been co-funded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.
Partners: Eastside Projects, The Public, The New Art Gallery Walsall
Editor: Agnieszka Le Nart