Kto ty jestes - Jarema Dorogowski

Who you are

Exhibition „Who you are” by Jarema Drogowski centers on a subject of Polish national identity. Discussion over the problem of the shape of the patriotism, national identity and its practices electrifies both the public and the media. Expansion and polarization of the conflict between nationalism and internationalism have left scarcely any room for those who do not identify themselves with any of extreme attitudes. Drogowski refutes this discussion contesting its extremist nature and encourages us both to take a part in it, and to take the discussion itself to a whole different level.

The artist takes as a point of departure the Polish emblem, which, however, does not appear in the gallery in its well-known canonical form. Gallery space is filled with works created by means of careful and precise modification, manipulation and collage recombination of  the polish emblems elements. This rich repertoire of possible reconfigurations reflects multiplicity of visions capturing national identity. At the same time they reveal the fact that Poland has become a country without any Idea, without any clear concept that the emblem could be a reflection of. Neither our laws nor we present what a country Poland is, or what a country should it be. Our public discourse is dominated by petty political struggle for ideological, but not for the Idea. National identity instead of connecting – divides, collapsing when faced with mundane issues. This results in denial and repudiation of questions about who we are and what State we together create. The question of national identity is relegated to the private realm and cease being a subject of a common sense oriented social dialogue.

Jarema Drogowski works presented at the exhibition „Who you are” illustrate a problem  expressed in a saying “There are as many Republics as many there are Poles”. Watching those permutations of our emblem (some of which represent a clear political concepts and the other raise questions about aesthetic layer of our identity), we realize that the problem is not in our personal relation to the issues discussed in the media, but somewhere deeper. That we need to create a new language  to talk about Poland, Poles and our identity.