The group exhibition presents works in different media by emerging artists from Czech Republic, Poland and Germany that refer to folk and indigenous traditions, beliefs and crafts, magical thinking and animism, using the language of poetry, speculative theories and storytelling. Using these various approaches and narratives the artists explore topics related to letting go, unlearning, loss or mourning in the context of the individual and collective traumas. The artists presented at the exhibition look for ways out and a sense of relief by reclaiming agency through everyday, imagined and forgotten rituals and exploring the visuality, symbolism and cultural codes of various ceremonies. Thus, the exhibition space evokes a place of an abandoned ritual or a cult’s temple to unidentified goddesses, giving strength and awareness in dealing with reality.
The title Apostasia is a genus of orchid species and could also be associated with apostasy – an act of leaving the Catholic Church. This bureaucratic process has a political and symbolic dimension, especially in the Polish context, where this institution has exceptional strength and power. Apostasy is one of the examples of a resignation strategy, an exit, where a personal decision is a liberating act of resistance against institutional violence. The exhibition also evokes other areas and contexts within which the artists undertake letting go, or the stories related to experiencing loss.
One of the ways to deal with oppressive structures and look for alternatives is to turn towards unorthodox knowledge systems, such as astrology, conspiracy theories, or folk beliefs. For centuries people without any power seeking for agency have been using these tools for translating reality and enchanting it. Another way to deal with oppression is the need to connect with nature, which is a response to technological exhaustion, exploitation and multidimensional crisis. These trends became more visible by the pandemic, which has accelerated already existing inequalities and populism, leaving masses of people with an even more acute sense of helplessness and hopelessness. In this context, reaching for rituals and magical thinking can be a recipe for uncertain times.
The exhibition is a result of curatorial residency undertaken by Tomek Pawłowski-Jarmołąjew hosted by two months in summer 2021 in Garage Gallery residential program.