21. SURVIVAL on Szewska street

The 21st edition of the SURVIVAL Art Review is approaching fast. This is the next instalment of the unique contemporary art presentation organised by the Art Transparent Foundation. This year’s SURVIVAL will be held from 23 to 27 June in the Popowice Depot, one of the largest surviving complexes in Przedmieście Mikołajskie, which has previously been inaccessible to the general public. More than 40 artists from Poland and abroad will show their works addressing the Review’s slogan “ersatz”. In addition to the main exhibition, the programme includes curator-led tours and meetings held as part of the Public Forum. The Foundation has also prepared a rich accessibility programme that takes into account sign language and “quiet hours” – tours for highly sensitive people. Admission to SURVIVAL is free of charge. Registration is required for the guided tours.

The word “ersatz: came into use during World War I. It denotes a substitute for a thing or activity, a counterfeit of something that is highly desirable – usually of inferior quality, but sharing characteristics with the original. Times of authoritarian rule showed that an ersatz could be used to effectively pull the wool over everybody’s eyes, even on a large national scale. In Polish, the German ersatz was turned into a familiar-sounding erzac, accentuating the intertwined economic and geopolitical perspectives shaping our region. Post-communist Poland, and perhaps all of Eastern and Central Europe, was built on shock therapy, a flood of counterfeits and the belief that by not moving too much, one could find oneself on the Western side. Ersatz has always been a manifestation of class divisions, while the transition from “fake” to original has been one of the clearest symbols of economic advancement. The history of the visual arts leads from representation to abstraction and beyond – for example, through readymade items or appropriation art – exploring the tension between original and imitation. The sound art of the Western civilization is full of attempts at perfect imitation.