at TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art / SZCZECIN (Poland)
7.11.2014 - 31.12.2014

In recent days, there has been much talk of a statement released by the recognized art critic David Hickey who said he was retiring from the nasty and stupid world of contemporary art: “I’m an intellectual and I don’t care if I’m not invited to the party. I quit.” - he said. The title of the exhibition THE PARTY refers to the anti-establishment movie “The Party” (1968) directed by Blake Edwards, a satiric comedy on the social elite of Hollywood. The main character, played by Peter Sellers is invited to a banquet in the house of a respected movie producer. Upon arrival, he is met by a world full of illusion and rigid standards in which he commits a number of social blunders.

The Performance Evening under the title THE PARTY calls into question both the form of the contemporary art world and the manner in which art is represented in galleries and at art fairs. To follow Hickey’s thoughts: Why should artists continue to create art? Why should art be exhibited or given monetary value? Does art have anything more to say? Performance art, as one of the most radical varieties of fine arts, seems to be most appropriate to ask these questions.

The above issues seem justified at the exceptional moment in the history of Szczecin: the city is currently in the process of re-establishing its own identity as a new center of art and culture in Poland. What position does TRAFO take in the new cultural region’s identity?

The Performance Evening will take place in connection with TRAFO’s first anniversary. Furthermore, it references the autumn traditions of the Harvest Festival and Thanksgiving. International performing artists will meet the audience at a dinner table set in TRAFO’s main exhibition hall. The evening will feature an all-night program of performance art and happening. Among the preparation of the meal, discussions on art and the traditional procession around the table, the performances will take place throughout the building.

Although the dinner “menu” has been pre-set, the event will be improvised and spontaneous due to an unpredictable nature of performance art. The exhibition will be affected not only by the number and type of performances, but also the audience – the party guests will become part of the artwork. The event will be documented by a camera crew, with the end result showcased at the exhibition.

Curated by Lucja Wasko-Mandes

Courtesy of the Artists and TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art
Foto Credits: Justyna Werbel, Stowarzyszenie Kamera, Marta Miszuk