Magda Szcześniak

Young Polish Artists Beyond the Neoliberal Normal

A talk on how young Polish artists are addressing their political past and economic conditions in a moment of growing disillusionment

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Magda Szcześniak comes to the Art & Politics Lecture Series to analyze echoes of the past in artworks by young Polish artists. The talk examines contemporary Polish art made by a young generation of artists (some of them still in art schools) that are connected with, and living and working in, post-industrial spaces—sometimes by the artists themselves and sometimes by communities they work with. Szcześniak’s main question here is the ways in which young artists address Poland’s political past and economic condition in a moment of growing disillusionment with the neoliberal normal (including the cruel practices of the neoliberal art and creative industry market). The three artists she’ll look at—Jaśmina Wójcik, Michał Szlaga, and the fashion collective Dom Mody Limanka—address different aspects of these issues and have different ways of recuperating the socialist past in the midst of contemporary political and social turbulence.

Magda Szcześniak is Assistant Professor in the Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw and 2019/20 Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Critical Theory, Duke University. Author of Normy widzialności. Tożsamość w czasach transformacji (Norms of Visuality. Identity in Times of Transition, 2016), devoted to the role of visual culture in the post-socialist transition in Poland. She is also the co-author of the two volume Kultura wizualna w Polsce (Visual Culture in Poland, 2017). Recipient of scholarships from the Fulbright Foundation (2010/2011, 2019/2020), the Polish National Science Centre, the Polish Ministry of Higher Education and Science. She is the editor of the bi-lingual, online academic journal View: Theories and Practices of Visual Culture and is currently working on a book about the politics of representing upward and downward social mobility in socialism.

Visual & Critical Studies