What is it all about?

Want to know the meaning of the work that intrigued whole Poland? Then read this text.

The team of the Art Transparent Foundation is made up of several people who, since Tuesday, have been facing threats, insults, humiliating comments and allegations, expressed not only on social media, but also by phone and email. We are ordinary people who have families, children, pets, other jobs. Yet our peace of mind and sense of security were taken away overnight. We were attacked for doing what we have been doing for 20 years, as professionals and enthusiasts – for promoting contemporary art, reflecting on it and bringing it closer to the public. The activities of the Art Transparent Foundation are very well known to the inhabitants of Wrocław, many of whom visit our exhibitions and festivals, participate in curator-led tours for children, young people and seniors. We are also recognized by national and international institutions, which is why we can successfully promote artists from Wrocław and Poland.

Since our mission is to bring art closer to you, we have decided to describe the work of Krystian “Truth” Czaplicki, whose art draws on the achievements of Marcel Duchamp. The Frenchman’s name may not be immediately recognizable, but you are certainly familiar with the urinal signed by Duchamp with his pseudonym and presented in an art gallery as Fountain. The year was 1917 and it was the beginning of using existing objects – “readymades” – to create art based on an idea. Academics consider this moment to be the beginning of modern art.

Krystian “Truth” Czaplicki also refers to the concept of “readymades” to create abstract collages of objects. The word “abstract” in this context means that the works have no fixed meaning, so they are conceptually open. A “collage,” on the other hand, is a combination of several objects that take on a new meaning when put together – a dummy is no longer a dummy and becomes whatever our imagination tells us it is.

The whole of Poland is wondering what the sculpture on the poster means. Let us explain!

The composition of the work consists of two mannequins in a vertical position. The larger one resembles a female figure with a beard. The smaller one, strapped to the female figure at the waist, resembles the figure of a child. This sight would hardly be surprising in an open-air market, as such straps are routinely used to transport objects. The figures are placed on top of a metal openwork base with an abstract motif.

So far, this particular work has been presented in public institutions in Ostrava (Plato) and Warsaw (Piktogram), at exhibitions visited by thousands of people. The most common interpretation at both of these exhibitions was the following:

It raises the problem of single motherhood or fatherhood, in which case modern parents have to be both father and mother at the same time, struggling to carry the responsibility for a child.

Alternatively, this interpretation has appeared:

This work is about the burden of childhood experiences that adults have to carry throughout their lives. The position of the smaller mannequin is typical of a school situation, i.e. one involving discipline. It is possible that the person represented by the larger mannequin can only begin to decide about themselves in adulthood, reflecting on who they really are.

Or yet another:

The metal element resembles a fish attacking a bird. This is strange, because the situation is usually the opposite. This could be an indication of the reversal of the standard roles in social hierarchy – that a man can do more than a woman, and a woman can do more than a child. In other words, it could be a question about human roles and subordination in a social hierarchy.

We have only described a handful of interpretations, but there could be many more, as many as there are people who look it.

Was this work suitable for presentation in the public space? Yes, and that is why we showed it there. Could it provoke discussion? Yes. Is it possible to have a different opinion about it? Yes. Does the law allow artistic freedom? Yes. Bringing art to public spaces and helping people to understand it is the mission of the Art Transparent Foundation.