OPPOsite

Opposite nr 1

Mniejszości narodowe i etniczne w sztuce polskiej po 1945 roku. "Dla ciebie chcę być biała"

Małgorzata Micuła / Familiarization of the "other" - transculturality or exploitation of cultural cliches? The problem of national stereotypes in Polish contemporary art

If stereotypes exist in Polish contemporary art - those which deal with themes such as acculturation, emigration, (un)acceptance and (in)hospitality - they might be a form of our incompetence in being a host for the Foreigner or a code used by an artist in order to confront it with a viewer; by that means it becomes a kind of a mirror in which we are able to see our attitudes towards the Other.
Both multiplicity and ambivalence characterize the stereotype in visual art and are decisive for its ambiguous nature. The stereotype, can, on the one hand, be a force which has an ability to strengthen generalizations. On the other, it is also an impetus for changes, thus this (in)active element - used by involved artists - goes beyond its previous role of taming the social differences to become an awkward formula that measures our level of hospitality and condition of identity which, continuously, is undergoing global processes.
Having chosen a few examples of national and ethnic stereotypes in Polish contemporary art, I want to demonstrate in the paper both the relevance of including them in art, and their obvious imperfection that exposes the attempt of monopolizing the transcultural phenomena.