33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts ‘Crack Up – Crack Down’ travels to Warsaw

Opening: Friday, 19 June 2020
19. 6.–11. 10. 2020
Ujazdowski Castle
Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw

The Crack Up – Crack Down exhibition, curated by the Slavs and Tatars art collective and first presented as the central exhibition of the 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts in 2019, is on view as a travelling exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, Poland. In Ljubljana, the exhibition presented 37 artists, but this time, this global overview of satire as a graphic genre has been expanded to also include Polish artists. The curators present a broad spectrum of works by artists from Slovenia, Ukraine, Georgia, Bulgaria, but also China, Iran, UK and the US.

Satire is equally moralising as it is critical: rampage and subversion are in its nature. It can mock but also terrorise. Humour of course changes with political shifts and technological development. Comedic expression is known to bloom particularly under authoritarian regimes – as was the case with the rich tradition of communist humour in Central and Eastern Europe, or the many examples from the Middle East. Satire can also be a tool of ideology even if it is well-fitted to unmask the mechanisms of authority. In these times of post-truth, it becomes a litmus paper of the public mood.

The exhibition showcases both historical and contemporary works, including artistic interventions, satirical magazines and academic elaborations. Slavs and Tatars have not reduced graphic art to the mere role of a “medium” but have granted it agency

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