Saturday, November 26, 2005

Another Polish controversial art scandal

I have never seen the Polish performance group Suka Off live. Which means I am not a very comptent person when it comes to judging their shows.
But several influential people in Poland recently decided that it really doesn't matter. If you know the story, or have seen a picture or two, you basically can decide if something is respectable, or, as has been in the case of Suka Off, if it's just "disgusting pornography" and should be burned down, destroyed, killed and rot in hell, where it belongs. It all started with an article in the tabloid Fakt, which stated "They call this disgusting stuff art!" and "This is pure pornography!". The journalist didn't see the show - but saw the pictures. Then, a politician read the article, and decided it was time to do something about it. He didn't see the show, only read the article. And he put the case to court, declaring it a case of "distribution of pornography" (illegal in Poland). Some other politicians felt the need to confirm the hienous nature of the show. A few old, renowned directors said how horrible this was. One of them, Hanuszkiewicz, used to make scandals himself, putting motorbikes in the National Theater (in the middle of the comunist era!), and such. Now he's old and his productions are aweful - but he is the perfect "judge" of the situation.

The next day after the original article appeared, Suka Off got dished from the program of an alternative theater festival. Its director now says it was for "financial reasons".
I will not write about the originality of the show, or the lack of it, for that matter. I don't know much more than a few descriptions (imitating fucking, pissing, hurting oneself). I like the pictures, though have seen not-too-different ones before. It could be as good or as bad as anything, but damn it, it's there, and it's the 21st century or so they say, and Poland looks like a joke. A sad joke.
Suka Off have self-censored their pretty site as a form of protest. (you can see it through here though - in Polish)

NB: It's amazing how short-lived people's memory of live (performing) art is. And to some extent, it is natural, since they really did not see the Abramovićs, the Gina Panes, Chris Burdens, or the viennese actionists. Is that another reason why history repeats itself? Because it's not film?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The pornography law hasn't been enforced since 1985 or so - the courts did in effect invalidate it, considering it not precise enough. The municipal politician you are writing about simply attempts to gain cheap popularity.


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