The recently popular word ‘exclusion’, which speakers are eager to use in any context they find convenient, can define more than a social group, a collective entity that has been given this stigmatising label. Exclusion is also a state of existence. The contemporary person, a citizen of a world that is overcrowded yet marked by solitude, one that is extremely rich yet immersed in poverty, is extended between two totalities: between immersion in a system and the continuous threat of being beyond it in the abyss of rejection.

Katarzyna Tórz
Kurator Idiomu

The boundaries of being excluded are liquid, delineated by insecurity and instability. The sense of non-belonging, of being a stranger is, perhaps, one of the most universal human feelings and, according to some philosophers, it is a state that marks our whole existence: from the moment we are born until we die. When asked who he was the Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran responded: ‘I am a stranger to the police, to God, to myself’. We are, therefore, excluded within the world and, likewise, within existence. The consequences of the tension that we endure are manifested on many levels. As humanity, we endlessly contrive new reasons for and methods of dividing into groups, strata and species; we specialise in mutual separation that is also performed according to mental, economic, social and identity-related criteria.

The projects shown within the Idiom are artistic emanations of exclusion. In this narrative about isolation and solitude no one can feel superior or non-excluded. Each project plays this state out in a different way, but all of them show that exclusion is made of many layers, that it is a process which affects. Most often it generates aversion and incomprehension, the desire to return to the state of normality, even if this normality is hell.

The languages of the artists who try to depict the condition of being excluded as the contemporary Zeitgeist (the spirit of the time) are polyphonic and, often, incorrect. The goal of their communications is not to provide tautological or expected illustrations to this phenomenon indicating who is and who is not excluded, or to instruct how to reduce the existing injustice and fear. The Idiom is an attempt to communicate with the viewers – to move them and to allow them to expose the areas and experiences of exclusion within them. The artistic projects bring to the surface the concealed and the difficult. This is aimed at awakening in the viewer a spark of self-identification within a painful duality: that of being the excluded and the excluder. The projects refer to the
figures and myths that continue to co-create contemporary social awareness (Jan Fabre). They revisit the overwhelming facts inscribed into the stories of specific places (Szyngiera/Jakimiak/Baumgart) and move on the extreme roadsides of European reality (Kornél Mundruczò). They tell about lives that surpass restrictions and are self-reflective (Young@Heart) and they confront the darkness of the human interior (Gisèle Vienne).

Exclusion is a dependent state that is sensitive to circumstances, to secondary phenomena and to the margins of the dominating narratives and orders. An excluded person disrupts the order and discloses flaws in the system which, despite its declarative nobleness, is based on violence and authority being, therefore, hypocritical. However, the excluded do not have to remain marked by being beyond or being doomed to passivity and isolation. The state has a potential for greater self-awareness and courage, as well as a higher capacity for defiance and emancipation.