press release

Je brûle Paris! (I am burning Paris!) is an exhibition—a visual essay comprised of works by artists, documentations, and objects.

The title alludes to an apocalyptic novel (1928) by Bruno Jasieński, a Polish futurist who was deported from France after its publication and obtained refuge in the USSR. In the novel, a young unemployed Frenchman performs an act of revenge on the capital of France for his exclusions: having broken into a laboratory by night and stolen black death bacteria, he uses the material to infect municipal waterworks. The first victims of the epidemic are brought to hospitals on July 14, the national holiday. Gradually, the isolated city divides into individual national republics, waging war one on another, slowly sentencing themselves to oblivion.

The show refers to the policy of fear as applied today. We are living in a time of surplus, bringing with it an overabundance of uncertainty. In the recent decades, a whole range of imminent versions of the end have been invented, which Umberto Eco calls the "lay obsession with a new apocalypse." The works in the exhibition enter mutual relations, or may build parallel narratives and arrange into a panorama of contemporary fears: of the phantasm of the Other in a society; of the impact of the incredible population growth that has served historically as harbinger to approaching adjustment in the number of humans; of information war; of the ghost of radical Islamisation; of Ebola epidemic and death; of the end of capitalism; and of a deficit of images of alternative visions of the future.

Curator: Stanisław Ruksza
Exhibition design: Łukasz Błażejewski